Unlike Gov. Jerry Brown, several governors have started the year highlighting early childhood education programs, according to a story in Education Week.
Govs. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., Rick Snyder, R-Mich., and Mike Pence, R-Ind., all used January speeches to propose expansions of early childhood education programs in their states from state preschool to full-day kindergarten. Govs. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt., and Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, also talked about the importance of investing in early childhood education in January speeches, according to the Education Week story.
In contrast, Brown didn’t mention early childhood education at all in his budget address or in his State of the State address. He hasn’t proposed cuts to early education and child care spending, nor has he proposed expansions. As
EdSource reported earlier this month, funding for early childhood programs would stay flat in the governor’s proposed budget.
However, early childhood programs in California have been cut by about $1 billion since the 2008-09 fiscal year and now serve 110,000 fewer children than they did before the recession, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Preschool advocates wish the issue would move higher up on the governor’s agenda.
Scott Moore, policy adviser for Preschool California, an advocacy organization that pushes for expanded early learning options in the state, said he applauds the governor’s focus on K-12 education but would like to see a broadening of that focus to include preschool. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has also highlighted early childhood education as an area that deserves more funding in his responses to the governor’s January speeches.