The Governor has offered us a difficult but clear plan to address the challenges we face. Even as it seeks to protect our schools from new across-the-board cuts, the budget lays out the stark choices that come with difficult times.
The proposed reductions to child care, to social services, and to schools serving the blind and deaf would cause real harm to children and families who need and deserv
e our help.
Because everyone has a stake in our public schools, we all have a responsibility to be sure they have the resources to provide every child with a world-class education.
The budget also makes it clear that meeting that obligation will require additional tax revenues-both to prevent new cuts and to finally turn the tide after years of devastating reductions to school budgets statewide.
I commend the students, their parents, teachers, and administrators, for their efforts in helping make these 15 schools models of excellence. Their success is amazing, especially considering they are swimming against the tide of massive budget cuts, crowded classrooms, and school employee layoffs.
You can read my full statement here.
I'm disappointed that federal officials have chosen to reject California's application instead of evaluating it with the flexibility necessary to provide much-needed funding for California's schools.
You can read my full statement here.
I've written an open forum article for today's San Francisco Chronicle about why passing a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a better option than the NCLB waiver.
As I write:
To obtain a temporary waiver from No Child Left Behind, California would have to meet 11 new federal mandates - and do so quickly - without one dollar of new resources.
The price tag for meeting these requirements is likely to reach $2 billion to $3 billion, depending upon how each is implemented - all within the next year or two, even as our schools continue to cope with a statewide financial emergency and the dire threat of further funding cutbacks.
If the Legislative Analyst's forecast proves correct, mid-year cuts will bring yet another painful blow to California's schools, which already have endured $18 billion in reductions in recent years.
Fewer children will get the child care critical to a good start in life, more families will have to scramble to get students to and from school, and pupils will likely find more crowded classrooms once they get there.
That's not the world-class education California's children deserve. We must commit ourselves as a state to finding the resources we need to make our schools great again.
This year's Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle fund raising bike ride proved to be a great success. Mae and I had a terrific time riding along our beautiful California coastline. Thanks to all of you who helped us meet our goals to help place Best Buddies into mentorships and jobs.
Please consider joining this further appeal to help us raise at least $1,000 more for scholarships to a Best Buddies training program. We were moved to make this appeal after hearing first hand from Best Buddy graduates about the value of the two-day conference.
Charles Calhoun and Lauren Potter, who stars on Glee, spoke eloquently about the challenges they faced and how they succeeded in overcoming many obstacles. (To see the presentation Charles made, please click here.)
During this leadership conference, the Best Buddies participants will develop their leadership skills and train to become speakers, advocates, and leaders.
Please consider helping others have this empowering experience with a donation of $25 to $100. Please send checks to Tamara Torlakson, Best Buddies, 921 11th Street, 10th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. Checks should be made out to Best Buddies International.
I appreciate your support of this outstanding organization!
MORE ABOUT BEST BUDDIES
Founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989, the Best Buddies mission is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Best Buddies International Leadership Conference brings together leaders with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities from high schools, colleges, and (for the first time) middle schools worldwide, providing personalized trainings that develop the skills needed to organize a Best Buddies chapter. Over the past 22 years, the Leadership Conference has inspired thousands of leaders to be Best Buddies ambassadors and to bring about social change in their communities.
With your support, we can help pay for the airfare, lodging, and food to attend for the weekend.
Earlier this week Tom attended an announcement by Texas Instruments to support math education through the Power of STEM Education Initiative.
Here's an ABC-7 News story about the announcement.
Children with special needs are 38% more likely to be obese, a startling statistic that needs attention and action now!
Please join me in celebrating the launch of Ability Path's report Finding Balance: Obesity and Children with Special Needs, a comprehensive look at how parents, educators, and the community can help fight the obesity epidemic in the special needs community.
Today we launched Team California for Healthy Kids at San Jose's Thomas P. Ryan Elementary School!
Athletes and others involved in the campaign will be visiting schools throughout the state to encourage local efforts to increase physical activity and increase access to water, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
The Team's co-chairs are Paris, ultramarathonman Dean Karnazes, fitness expert Lorrie Sullenberger, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Bill Walton, and UCLA Professor Toni Yancey, MD, MPH.
Because student health and student learning go hand in hand, we want to empower every child and every family in California to make healthy food and physical activity choices every day.
With Team California for Healthy Kids, we'll help make the healthy choices the easy choices.
The campaign's materials are posted on the California Department of Education's Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/tchk.asp or at the Team California for Healthy Kids site at http://www.teamcaliforniaforhealthykids.org.
It was wonderful to have an opportunity to talk about California education issues with the members of the Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch yesterday! I was also honored to receive my 30-year membership pin. That was a great surprise!
It was great to see so many familiar faces. This club has always had a close connection to teachers and our schools. It is an honor to be a member!
Update: You can read a Contra Costa Times story about Tom's visit by clicking here.