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In an effort to improve our education system in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has put together what he refers to as a “cradle to career” education plan. The California governor has recently organized a team of advisers on education and children’s issues that is believed to be substantially larger than any similar governor-created organization in the Golden State’s history.

Newsom has made numerous appointments focused on education and children’s issues, and these tip heavily toward early childhood. This is likely a reflection of Newsom’s embrace of such issues during his campaign and continuing throughout his first few weeks as governor. He continuously stresses the importance of a child’s early years. In his 2019 budget, he has proposed spending almost $1.8 billion on programs that focus on early childhood.

Newsom’s Senior Policy Adviser for the “cradle to career” program is Ben Chida. Chida was previously an adviser to Senator Kamala Harris, D-CA.,when she was California’s attorney general. Chida has a law degree from Harvard Law School and was once a 3rd-grade teacher.

Lande Ajose has been appointed at the other end of the education spectrum, and will serve as Higher Education Senior Policy Advisor. In the past, Ajose worked as the managing director of “California Competes,” an organization that was formed to advocate for greater access to California’s colleges. Ajose has a Masters degree from UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, and a PhD in Urban and Regional Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently, she is chair of the California Student Aid Commission.

Further highlighting the significance of early education, the governor has also appointed Kris Perry as a senior adviser on the implementation of his initiatives concerning early childhood development. Perry will be Deputy Secretary for Early Childhood Development, and will work out of offices at the Department of Health and Human Services in California. Perry was once president of the Save the Children Action Network and is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz.

Our private math tutors in Orange County recently learned that Governor Newsom has also created a post that is entirely new, by naming Doctor Nadine Burke-Harris the first Surgeon General of California. CEO and Founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, Burke-Harris has a nationwide reputation for her work regarding adverse early childhood experiences.

One key appointee of the governor’s who will probably have the most impact on education, as well as general policies that affect children, is Newsom’s Chief of Staff, Ann O’Leary. O’Leary boasts a long record of championing measures to improve children’s health and well-being, such as the passage of the Child Health Insurance Program.

Newsom’s Legal Affairs Secretary, Catherine Llamon, could also influence policies related to education and children, particularly where racial justice and equity issues are concerned. Llamon ran the Office of Civil Rights in the United States Department of Education under then-president Barack Obama. There are yet four vacancies on the State Board of Education that must be filled by Newsom.

The governor’s relationship with Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, is still evolving. Thurmond, by all accounts and sources, is working closely with the new governor. Additionally, Thurmond’s appointments are also being carefully observed, as they will have considerable influence on implementation of a broad range of education policies.

Lupita Alcalá has been appointed as Thurmond’s Chief Deputy Superintendent. Alcalá previously held a variety of roles at the California Department of Education, one of which was Deputy Superintendent.

The private tutors at Reach Pro Tutoring are hopeful that the new plan will lead to lasting change that will allow us to better teach our students.

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