Our Policy Priorities for 2021: Improving Early Childhood Education with a COVID lens
We’ve turned the calendar corner, and 2021 will be busy. HSC’s vision remains the same – providing more pregnant mothers, children aged 0-5 and their families access to Head Start and Early Head Start high-quality school readiness and comprehensive services, and to improving the early childhood education and care system for the most vulnerable children. Making that vision a reality now requires a COVID-19 lens.
Our advocacy work is driven by stories and priorities. You have some impressive stories to tell.
How do members of congress know what we want? The answer is surprisingly simple. We have to tell them. There are a few options: in-person meeting, phone call, letter, Tweet. Their legislative staff monitor these communications. Staff could report to their Member of Congress in under 15 seconds.
Staff: “Hey, we got some letters about including Head Start in the next COVID relief package.”
Member: “How many?”
Staff: “Almost 400.”
But what if the answer to ‘how many?’ had been: “Over 20,000.” That could lead to a very different congressional response: “Wow!
2020-21 State Budget Signed
Nearly 500 letters sent to Gov. Newsom to urge adoption of Legislature’s budget
The Governor and Legislature reached a final budget deal this week, protecting child care provider reimbursement rates and including additional protections to keep child care thriving as the essential service it is now and always will be. On June 30, Governor Newsom signed the 2020-21 state budget which protects many existing investments in children, families and care providers.
AB 77 and SB 98 are the budget trailer bills for education financing,
HSC Members Go Virtual for State & Federal Advocacy Days
Child Care & End Child Poverty in CA- Virtual Advocacy Days
On June 4, Head Start California partnered with the California Alternative Payment Program Association, End Child Poverty CA and the CA Food Bank Association to host a virtual advocacy day. We came together as a group of over 250 advocates where we learned, advocated and briefed over 50 legislative offices on our state policy and budget overview that will keep families fed, housed, and cared for.
State Budget Update: Senate democrats oppose $14 billion in budget cuts
Alternate funding approach proposed, preserving childcare and education spending
California Senate Democrats are poised to reject $14 billion in budget cuts proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month, choosing instead to craft a spending plan that looks for other ways to erase the state’s deficit and assumes additional money for schools and social services will come from the federal government by early September.
The proposal relies on an alternate approach to Newsom’s plea for additional funds from President Trump and Congress,
President Signs Coronavirus Stimulus Package; will provide $750 million for Head Start
Today, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748) which includes $750 million for Head Start. Head Start CA will provide a more comprehensive analysis next week when details are ready. Funding will include emergency staffing needs, address added operational costs, and provide summer learning opportunities. It also includes $3.5 billion in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program (CCDBG) to support child care programs in maintaining critical operations.
State Legislation Impacting Head Start on Our Radar
The 2020 legislative session is in full swing, and Feb. 21 was the final day for new bills to be introduced in the California State Legislature. Below are summaries of a few early childhood bills on our radar that impact Head Start:
AB 2594 (Aguiar-Curry) This bill would authorize the Superintendent, to the extent consistent with federal law, to waive staffing ratios established under existing state law for center-based programs that meet federal Head Start program performance standards.
Presidents’ Day and George Washington’s Wish
After NHSA’s Winter Leadership Institute, and before my flight back to California on Jan. 31, I took two hours to walk from the hotel to the Washington Monument and back. I’ve visited a few times before, but this time I was intent upon getting a ticket and taking the elevator to the top. It was well worth it. The story of its construction was fascinating and the view from the top was impressive.
When I awoke 17 days later to Presidents’ Day,
Governor’s proposed 2020 budget includes new Early Childhood Development department
California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his $222.2 billion state budget on January 10. Among his plans to spend part of a projected $5.6 billion surplus on green technology and homeless aid, Governor Newsom’s plan would also steer more money to Medi-Cal, and boost assistance for homeless people and mental healthcare.
Head Start California is eagerly awaiting the trailer bill language and looking forward to the budget hearings in the coming weeks to learn more about the Governor’s budget proposals.
We Advocate Because They are Worth it
What is an advocate? The Merriam Webster online dictionary offers a few definitions, but the simplest is this: an advocate is ‘one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group.’ It seems unfair or perhaps misleading that the definition should be so simple. Because advocacy is not simple. It is complicated and time-consuming. Advocacy is a lot of work.
Here’s the payoff. In our case, it is noble work.