Unprecedented California budget to usher in sweeping education changes

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Big new spending on transitional kindergarten, teacher shortage, student mental health

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature have seized a once-in-a-generation deluge of state and federal funding to set in motion a sweeping and ambitious set of education programs that seemed implausible six months ago.

The 2021-22 state budget, which Newsom signed late Monday, expands the state government’s commitment to meet the needs of all students and redefines what constitutes an equitable education for low-income kids in a state with rising inequality.

Last week, Newsom called the budget “unlike anything we have ever done in this state. So many things we’ve promoted, so many things we dreamed of, we’re delivering.” It contrasts sharply with the state budget passed a year ago, when Newsom and the Legislature cut spending in anticipation of a yearlong Covid-precipitated recession.

The budget will provide billions of dollars to speed up movement on long-discussed goals: creating transitional kindergarten (TK) for all 4-year-olds and extending the school year and school day for all low-income elementary students. It includes enough funding to make a dent in — if not potentially eliminate — a teacher shortage through teacher residencies and other credentialing incentives.

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NOTE...John Fensterwald  wrote this article with the help of EdSource reporters Michael Burke, Karen D’Souza, Sydney Johnson, Carolyn Jones, Diana Lambert, Ashley Smith, and Ali Tadayon.