FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2021
Contact: Jamie Mauhay
Head Start California’s Statement on the May Revise
SACRAMENTO, Calif., (May 14, 2021) – Christopher Maricle, Executive Director, Head Start California, issued the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s May Revision:
“We applaud Governor Newsom’s commitment to increasing access to early childhood learning and care for California’s families, and we agree that a deep and permanent investment is long overdue. However, Head Start California is concerned that the May Revision’s proposal to expand Transitional Kindergarten (TK) will have unintended and potentially harmful consequences for non-district providers that could result in inequitable access for families who most need the support. The proposal risks significant and duplicative costs of restructuring TK programming, staffing and facilities to serve younger children when quality, age-appropriate programming already exists in our mixed-delivery system, and in which Head Start plays a significant role.
Head Start has been called the gold standard in early childhood learning and care for good reason. Head Start’s holistic, community-based approach, developed over sixty years of experience, already provides wrap-around, comprehensive services that children and families from the most at-risk backgrounds need. In addition to kindergarten readiness, Head Start supports health, nutrition, and parental involvement that leads to greater economic sufficiency and disruption of generational poverty.
The enormous budget surplus is an unprecedented opportunity. California should absolutely dedicate ongoing revenue to expanding early learning and care access. TK is one possible solution, but it should not be considered the only option. California is a large, diverse and complex state. ‘One size fits all’ will not work.
California can Roar Back by providing more access to more families as soon as possible. But the speed to expand must not sacrifice equitable access. To balance speed and equity— a core principle mentioned in the California Master Plan for Early Learning and Care more than 50 times—significant and stable funding must be strategically allocated across the mixed-delivery system including Head Start. Other large, diverse states have successfully embraced a mixed delivery model that includes the full array of options, and empowered families to select the program most aligned with their children’s and family’s needs. More than a dozen states invest state funding to expand Head Start services. Investing in our mixed delivery system is not optional—an equitable and expedited economic recovery depends on it.
The Head Start community looks forward to partnering with the Governor to provide more services to more families.”
Head Start California is the premier advocacy organization for Head Start agencies throughout California. Head Start California advocates for its members at the federal, state and local county level ensuring that members speak with a unified voice about the challenges facing California’s most vulnerable families, and the Head Start community that serves them. By communicating with members, and creating opportunities for learning and connecting, members are increasingly engaged, unified and supported as they work to better serve their clients and communities.
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