Gavin Newsom's 1st-year K-12 scorecard: good grades on priorities and some incompletes
He funded beyond the minimum, struck deals on charter schools and building aid
JANUARY 3, 2020
CREDIT: OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA
Helped by students at the Ethel I. Baker Elementary School in Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 7 signs Assembly Bill 48, placing a $15 billion school construction ballot on the March 2020.
Gavin Newsom wasn’t pressed during his 2018 campaign for governor to be specific about his education goals or how he’d raise taxes for the additional revenue that he agreed schools need. Well-assured of election, he didn’t have to. He faced a weak opponent in Republican John Cox after vanquishing opponents in the primary. Plus, K-12 education wasn’t a central issue in the election.
But in his first year in office, Newsom partially made good on education positions he highlighted on his website and in a questionnaire for EdSource. These include making early education a priority, funding incentives to hire more teachers and creating the framework for a database to track students from pre-K to higher ed. In 2019, he also made decisions that sometimes surprised, and largely pleased, education groups and advocates and that distinguished him from his predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown.
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“Following Brown was going to be tough,” said Kevin Gordon, president of Capitol Advisors Group, an education consulting firm in Sacramento, “but if anyone thought a rookie governor would be weaker and more timid, they were sorely mistaken.”
Celia Jaffe, president of the California State PTA, said, “The California State PTA is pleased with real strides in education under Newsom; there was progress on thorny issues like charter school reform.”
“In education, Newsom established independence from Gov. Brown,” said former Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, a Democrat from Alamo who chaired the Assembly Education Committee in 2013-14. “He has been what I expected. He has never been afraid to move forward but he also is a businessman who understands the need to balance budgets.”
As Newsom enters his second year in office, here is a look back at some of the commitments he made, key actions he took and some promises still awaiting action.
On his campaign website, Newsom wrote, “If we are serious about closing achievement gaps and income gaps, we must get serious about closing the opportunity gap and that begins with doubling down on the readiness gap by emphasizing prenatal care and the first three years of a child’s life. Gavin will work to address the inequities in our public education system, connect our early childhood, K-12 and higher education systems and develop incentives to attract highly qualified educators.”
How’d he do?
Early education: As he had promised, Newsom made child care and early education a priority, committing more than $2 billion, much of it in one-time money. Newsom expanded funding without encroaching on the K-12 budget by using other General Fund dollars.
Data: With a $10 million budget appropriation, Newsom has set in motion what Brown had opposed: the creation of a longitudinal data system linking information on children from infancy through college and into the workforce. It will connect existing data systems so that lawmakers and policy makers can answer fundamental questions, like which early education investments pay off long-term and which community college reforms increase college completion rates.
Teacher shortage: Adding to efforts that Gov. Brown included in his last budget, Newsom included $90 million in scholarships for 4,500 new teachers in high-demand subjects, such as special education, math and science, in low-income districts where they are most needed. That could be a down payment for more funding this year.
Newsom’s first-year budget did not include initiatives to address inequities, other than to direct most new money toward the Local Control Funding Formula, which targets additional funding to districts based on their numbers of low-income, foster and homeless students and English learners.
For the full article please click link below:https://edsource.org/2020/gavin-newsoms-1st-year-k-12-scorecard-good-grades-on-priorities-and-some-incompletes/621681