California Fair Share

A grassroots campaign to make sure everyone gets a fair shot, pays their fair share and plays by the same rules

CA Fair Share Delivers 1,617 Petitions to Rep. Bera to Stop Education Cuts

Education advocates hand over 1,617 petition signatures demanding that Congress stop education cuts. From left to right: Faith Whitmore, District Director to Rep. Ami Bera; Patrick Stelmach, State Organizer of California Fair Share; Paulette Greenhouse; Raquel Simental, Public Affairs Director of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte; Rick Mockler, Executive Director of California Head Start Association.

Education advocates hand over 1,617 petition signatures demanding that Congress stop education cuts. From left to right: Faith Whitmore, District Director to Rep. Ami Bera; Patrick Stelmach, State Organizer of California Fair Share; Paulette Greenhouse; Raquel Simental, Public Affairs Director of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte; Rick Mockler, Executive Director of California Head Start Association.

Rancho Cordova, CA  – California Fair Share and other education advocates today called on Congress to pass the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, a 10-year initiative to improve education for children from birth through their fifth year. California Fair Share and CourageCampaign.org delivered more than 1,600 petition signatures to Rep. Ami Bera, demanding that Congress stop further cuts to education funding and expand opportunities for young children.

“Studies show that early learning and care are key to closing the academic achievement gap – and producing the skilled workforce critical to the success of our nation’s economy,’ said Patrick Stelmach, state organizer for California Fair Share. “We need a shared state and federal partnership to promote early childhood education. Today we are thanking Congressman Bera for his leadership in working for the best interests of our children.”

“We need to prepare our children to compete in the 21st-century economy, not stop early education programs that we know are successful,” wrote Rep. Bera in a Feb. 26 editorial in the Sacramento Bee. In September, Rep. Bera donated $1,300 to the SETA Head Start program, in an effort to raise awareness of the good work done in the programs and the detrimental impacts of automatic across-the-board spending cuts, commonly known as “sequestration”.

“If we want California schools to succeed, the first step is for incoming children to be ready to learn,” said Rick Mockler, Executive Director of the California Head Start Association. “Unfortunately, the federal sequester has denied thousands of children access to early childhood education which at-risk children need to prepare them for school.  They will struggle when they arrive at kindergarten and without remediation may never make up the achievement gap.”

“It’s time for California to once again be a leader in education. The $1 billion in cuts from early education during the recession left our children, who were already falling behind other states, with even fewer opportunities,” said Mark Friedman, CEO of First 5 Alameda and co-chair of Raising California Together. “In recent national tests, California’s 4th graders ranked 47th in the nation in both math and reading. And according to the National Assessment of Education Progress, California has one of the nation’s largest achievement gaps separating white and Latino students in English and math.”

“Affordable, high-quality early education enables women to work and support their families while giving them the peace of mind that their children are in safe, nurturing early learning environments,” said Raquel Simiental, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. “When mothers are able to get a job and earn more income, they can offer more stability, opportunities, and resources for their children, such as providing nutritious meals, books and other toys that allow their children to learn and develop.”

The Strong Start for America’s Children Act, sponsored in the House by Reps. Richard Hanna, R-NY, and George Miller, D-CA, and in the Senate by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA, was introduced earlier this month. It would create a new state-federal formula for grants to fund the expansion of preschool for lower-income 4-year-olds. States such as California would funnel the new money down to various entities, ranging from school districts and charter schools to child care centers and Head Start programs that demonstrate they can be “high-quality, local providers.”

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This entry was posted on December 5, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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