Classroom Lecture

EDUCATION & CHILDCARE

Proposed Objectives

These objectives are subject to ongoing input from, and ratification by, our members. Finalized objectives will be substantiated by accompanying policy proposals in our upcoming Policy Agenda.

Increase access to Early Head Start and increase income assistance for, and access to, full-day 0-3 infant care

Establish a legal right of all kids in the state to a quality K-12 education

Support efforts of the State Dept. of Labor and others to identify occupations amenable to apprenticeships, upskilling and reskilling including for the recently incarcerated and hard to employ populations

Invest in teacher success while strengthening accountability to parents, students and taxpayers

Expand the state public school system to include full-day preschool, starting at age 3

Shorten Higher Education completion time, improve graduation rates, close equity gaps and prepare students for the workforce

Context

A good education is essential to meaningful, recognized participation in today’s society and economy, and our elected representatives have a responsibility to ensure every Californian is provided this critical key to accessing their best future.

 

A short time ago education was commonly thought to start in earnest with kindergarten. Research now shows critical brain and emotional growth starts before birth.1 The first five years of children’s lives, including the social ecosystems of which they are a part, are crucial to their —and our state’s—success. Experts also used to think formal education ended in 8th grade, then 12th, then after college with graduate school (for some). Today we recognize that access to education must be lifelong. We must establish a system that welcomes learners at any age -- to retrain when a sector vanishes or disability strikes, when more income is needed or desired, or when one retires from a lifelong field but has more to give (and much longer to live) or perhaps still has bills to pay.

Furthermore, the goal isn’t simply filling seats; it’s learning, and then translating that learning into a meaningful occupation.
2 For many kids in California, this means the inclusion of student-centered, integrated career pathways; effective academic and career counseling and navigation assistance; social and emotional support; and mental health support. For policy makers and schools it means recognizing the impact of decades of deeply ingrained racial and economic segregation throughout the state, as well as the geographic challenges facing California’s rural communities and the importance of designing opportunity today that truly give every child their best chance to flourish.3 

Delivering a good education also requires investing in child caregivers and teachers, and designing for true accountability. Child care provider compensation is so low that these workers are often collecting public benefits when they aren’t caring for our kids. K – 12 and ‘Higher Ed’ teacher pay in California is roughly in-line with pay scales elsewhere, but California’s cost of living is not. If Californians agree that effective teaching is one of the most important investments taxpayers make in our shared future, then teachers should have high quality, career-long training and competitive compensation; parents and students should have regular independent verification of school performance; and taxpayers should know their tax dollars are being spent as promised, managed responsibly, and delivering the impact for which they were authorized.

Of course this all must be affordable for parents initially, and later students. For young adults financing higher education, the 2019-20 budget boosted by about 15,000 the number of competitive Cal Grants available to incoming students. This is an improvement, but of the 654,000 qualified students who applied for the state scholarships last year only 240,600 received them. And in our high-cost state, non-tuition expenses such as rent, food, and transport are quickly outpacing tuition as the leading (and sometimes prohibitive) expense.


Finally, while kids are in childcare or at school, their parents often need to be at work. The economic cost of inadequate childcare on California's working parents, employers, and taxpayers is calculated to be an annual $9 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.4 At the same time, economies are known to grow substantially when they invest in the productive potential of their population.5
 Policy makers should be rethinking the public sector’s role in early childhood care and education;6 promoting relationships and dialogue among academic institutions and the private sector; the training, support, and pay scales for their educators and caregivers;7 and both equity of opportunity for all kids and accountability to taxpayers system-wide.8

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[1] https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/From_Best_Practices_to_Breakthrough_Impacts-4.pdf (p. 7-18)

 

[2] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/12/11/talent-is-americas-most-precious-resource-its-time-economic-development-organizations-focus-more-on-developing-it/

[3] https://gettingdowntofacts.com/sites/default/files/GDTFII_Equity%20Review.pdf

 

[4] https://www.strongnation.org/articles/890-californias-0-3-child-care-crisis

 

[5] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2019/12/11/talent-is-americas-most-precious-resource-its-time-economic-development-organizations-focus-more-on-developing-it/

 

[6] https://heckmanequation.org/resource/perry-preschool-papers-2019/; https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resourcecategory/reports-and-working-papers/

 

[7] https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/From_Best_Practices_to_Breakthrough_Impacts-4.pdf, (p. 20-21)

[8] http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/investing-early-care-education-economic-benefits-california/

Indicative Resources

These links are included because the Collaborative considers some data or analysis in their body to be relevant, irrespective of the overall perspective or tone of the writing. They are far from exhaustive, and represent only a small fraction of the data and perspectives that shape our objectives.

Financing California’s Public Schools (PPIC)

 

What California can learn from universal preschool in other states (EdSource)

The Current State of Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

Universal Preschool is Most Cost-Effective, Study Finds (Hechinger Report)

Who should pay for preschool for the middle class? (Hechinger Report)

 

Facing unprepared kindergarteners, a rural school district restores preschool for all (EdSource)

[Placeholder] Three Reasons Universal Preschool is Valuable (Parents)

 

Investing in Early Care and Education: The Economic Benefits for California (UC Berkeley Labor Center)

 

Want to grow the economy? Fix the childcare crisis (ReadyNation) 

 

California’s 0-3 childcare crisis (ReadyNation)

Community Schools: An Evidence-based Strategy for Equitable School Improvement (Learning Policy Institute, National Education Policy Center)

 

A Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis of the Los Angeles County Early Care and Education System

With early childhood education on CA’s agenda, preschool teachers ask why ‘cashiers at McDonalds’ get better pay (CalMatters)

California’s latest undergrad project? More aid for campus moms and dads (Cal Matters)

 

The soul-crushing cost of college in CA, explained (CalMatters)

 

California needs a new master plan to close the education equity gap (EdSource, Commentary)

 

New Federal Data Sheds Light on Student Debt in California (PPIC)

Why is college so expensive in America (The Atlantic)

Price of college increasing almost 8 times faster than wages (Forbes)

 

Making College Affordable (PPIC)

 

Making College Possible for Low-Income Students: Grant and Scholarship Aid in California (PPIC)

K-12 Local Control Funding: The State's Approach Has Not Ensured That Significant Funding Is Benefiting Students as Intended to Close Achievement Gaps (California State Auditor’s Office)