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Budget Ignores Poverty-Busting Potential of Early Learning

The Raising California Together Coalition released the following statement from Co-Chairs Tonia McMillian, family child care provider and Clarissa Doutherd, ‎Executive Director at Parent Voices Oakland, in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revision to the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget proposal.

Child care workers share Gov. Brown’s concern over preparing for tomorrow – that’s why we’ve committed our lives to helping position the next generation for success.  At the same time, we can’t lose sight of the reality of poverty families are facing today. For child care providers still earning just one-third of California’s new minimum wage, and families who need child care, the ‘time of necessity’ is now.

After California led the nation in striking a blow against poverty with a $15 minimum wage, we must not hamper this progress by leaving hurdles in the way of working women who are counting on higher wages but don’t have access to child care that can make them a reality.  Nor does it make sense to leave California children without the child care and learning opportunities studies show are the key to unlocking a better future.  Unfortunately, this budget does both.

Last week Hillary Clinton helped raise awareness of our nation’s child care crisis and put forward an ambitious plan to make quality, affordable care accessible to families.  Her plan was developed after listening to early educators who work every day to bust poverty – and Governor Brown and California’s leaders must do the same if we are to close the achievement gap that divides our children into haves and have-nots before they even start kindergarten.

Raising California Together has proposed several crucial reforms to strengthen California’s child care system including 12 month eligibility that would lead to more stable child care for families and to establish the equivalent of a $15 wage so that the women who help working moms to lift their families out of poverty can do the same for their own.

A recent Field Poll suggests that a majority of Californians want more investment in early education and believe child care providers are not being paid enough. It’s time for Governor Brown and California leaders to listen to Californians and join together with child care providers and parents to support budget investments that expand access to quality affordable early care and education for California’s neediest children.

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