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Raising California Together Coalition for Kids Challenges Governor Brown to Lead Fight Against Poverty

Raising California Together released the following statement today from Raising California Together coalition Co-Chairs Mark Friedman and Tonia McMillian  and following Governor Jerry Brown’s inaugural address. Raising California Together is a broad coalition of child care providers, agencies, parents, educators, clergy and interfaith networks, unions, small businesses, women’s and children’s advocates, community groups, and public health organizations united to press for local, state, and national policy solutions to increase access to quality child care and early learning choices.

“Today Governor Brown reflected that the tests of his father’s governorship persist 50 years later. Just as that generation rose to the challenge of creating opportunity in California through smart investment in its people, we must do the same. We call on Governor Brown to join Raising California Together’s commitment to break down the barriers of poverty and inequality created by irregular, low wage work.

“With an unprecedented fourth term and the strong support of the people of California, Governor Brown has an opportunity to lead us beyond the minimum wage discussion and create an ambitious plan to alleviate poverty.  Strengthening early childhood education is California’s greatest opportunity to help families in low-wage jobs survive and thrive, equip kids to overcome challenges of income and language to succeed in school alongside their peers, and stabilize a child care workforce facing poverty wages that average $4.98 per hour.

“We applaud Governor Brown’s focus on expanding educational funding and equalizing opportunity for children who bring additional challenges into the classroom.  Yet California falls short of providing adequate access to positive early learning opportunities before age 3 that research shows is essential for school readiness and later school success.

“We invite Governor Brown to work with the Raising California Together coalition to strengthen and invest in positive early learning opportunities that support early cognitive and social emotional development. All parents of very young children deserve the peace of mind that their children are not only safe, but learning as they work long hours for low pay.

“Combating inequality and creating economic and educational opportunity hampers millions of California families from attaining the American Dream. Strengthening early childhood education is California’s greatest opportunity to help families in low-wage jobs secure a better future.”

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