Oct 5, 2021
Gavin Newsom Signs Early Education Legislation Press Conference Transcript
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed new early childhood education legislation into law on October 5, 2021. Read the transcript of the full press conference briefing here.
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Michele Cantwell-Copher: (13:23)
Let’s see here. Good morning and welcome to the beautiful Sunset Elementary School in Fresno Unified School District. My [inaudible 00:13:33] Copher, Assistant Superintendent for the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and I’m so pleased to be here with you all this morning.
Michele Cantwell-Copher: (13:44)
In the important work of transforming schools, we all agree, the best place to start is at the very beginning in early care and education. We know that when children start behind, they often stay behind in school and we need to change that. Today, we are gathered here in Fresno County, where we educate [inaudible 00:14:04] partners have been working for years to improve access to and quality in our early care and education programs. And today we are gathered here for a bill-signing moment in history. It is an honor to have our governor here, and we sincerely appreciate his significant commitment to schools as evidenced by the investments in pre-K for all, dual language programs and the promise of a college savings plan. I’m pleased to be joined here with many legislative champions for children, and one of our most fearless of early care advocates is going to be speaking next. So, I’d like to welcome Fresno Unified Superintendent, Bob Nelson.
Bob Nelson: (14:51)
Thank you. You, Michele. Greetings everyone, we welcome you to beautiful Sunset Elementary in Fresno. That’s the heart of California Central Valley. Pleased to have so many of you here with us today. A very happy World Teacher’s Day 2021, we’re very thankful for the opportunity to recognize a group of people who spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how they can best care for other people’s children. So we honor you and celebrate your efforts for and in behalf of our kids today.
Bob Nelson: (15:16)
I’m thrilled to have the governor and Superintendent Thurmond here with me today to talk about something very near and dear to my heart. We want every four-year-old to have the opportunity to be in school every day, all the time. The Brookings Institution came out with a study where they talked about children in poverty and how they were impacted by that. Quite frankly, children who are at risk come to school 27 percentage points behind that of their middle or upper income colleagues. So, quite frankly, we’re 27 runs down before we’ve even taken the balls and bats out of the bag.
Bob Nelson: (15:43)
The only way to equivocate that and to make it better for the kids that we’ve come to serve is to give them an opportunity to have more and earlier learning. So, thrilled for the opportunity to talk about a universal TK opportunity today for our kids and for all of our kids across the great state of California. Thankful to be here with so many people who love kids, who put kids at their heart and one of them is a good friend and a staunch supporter. He was working out with the McClain high school football team this morning, our own mayor, Mr. Jerry Dyer. [crosstalk 00:16:11] Yeah.
Jerry Dyer: (16:16)
Thank you, Bob. I appreciate that very much. And Governor, thank you for once again visiting our city and for your investment in our youth. AB 1363 is something that I wholeheartedly believe in. Early education is really the foundation for success for our youth. Kids that start behind stay behind, and we know that as a fact. The sooner a child gets into the classroom and in the presence of an adult educator, the more likely they are at succeeding in life and having a prosperous life. Assembly Bill 1363 levels the playing field, especially for those disadvantaged youth who oftentimes do not have the same opportunities in-
Jerry Dyer: (17:03)
Who oftentimes, do not have the same opportunities in life as others. One Fresno, which all of you know, is our theme here in the city of Fresno. It is about creating the same opportunities for success and prosperity, regardless of the neighborhood in which a child grows up in, regardless of the political affiliation of their parents, and regardless of the family’s income that would either determine whether they could afford pre- K or not. And so I stand here today proud, to be able to support AB 1363. And again, Governor, thank you and welcome to Fresno. It is my privilege and opportunity this morning, to be able to introduce to the podium, our State Assembly member here for Fresno, Dr. Joaquin Arambula.
Dr. Joaquin Arambula: (17:57)
Ensuring access to early education and care, especially for our children’s and families who are marginalized and excluded, can help to mitigate systemic racism and address and narrow the disparities that we see in income and race. Being here in 93706, the zip code I know and love. A zip code that I went to high school, just down the street. I am proud that we are here at the Sunset Tigers, being a tiger who went to Edison High. And so it’s with great pride that I want to welcome the legislators, the superintendent of instruction, and the Governor of the great state of California here to Fresno, California. Today, we are talking about how we can provide opportunities for English language learners, how we can provide a better foundational support to our community who needs the help. We can also talk about the supports we can provide to our homeless and foster youth, as well as how we can make sure that all of our children have the access to universal TK.
Dr. Joaquin Arambula: (19:02)
Now, finally, those who have learning disabilities that currently are going undiagnosed. And the opportunity that presents itself, is we can start with early education to make sure that we are identifying, mitigating, and providing early interventions to our students who need the help the most. But it’s by actually investing in communities like 93706, that will help to move our state forward. And so again, it’s with equity in mind that I appreciate the Governor and the attention that we have gotten from the state, the focus on zip codes just like 93706, and in Fresno in general. Thank you for allowing me to participate. And I now would like to welcome Assembly member Nazarian to the mic.
Adrian Nazarian: (19:49)
Good morning. It’s wonderful to be in the other Valley, not the San Fernando Valley some of my colleagues and I are from. I wanted to say, first of all, thank you Governor for inviting us and having us here. Thank you to the Fresno family and as well as Senator Hurtado and Dr. Arambula to host this as well, right here in the heart of California. I couldn’t think of a better place to make these announcements of investments right here in Fresno. Aside from being the place where agricultural growth took place to feed the entire state, the country, and the world. It’s also the birthplace and the hometown of my favorite author and the best children’s author, William Saroyan. So I wanted to take a moment and just say, it’s wonderful to have vision. It’s wonderful to have, to talk about, and to look at the studies and the research of investment and what investments can do.
Adrian Nazarian: (20:43)
But it’s another thing when you put it into action. I’ve been working on the investments into our children for the past five, six years, but it wasn’t until Governor Newsom… Former mayor Newsom of San Francisco, who implemented a program like this in San Francisco. Took office, partnered up and we were able to fully finance a program that’s going to allow every child born in California to have an investment in the marketplace. Because that’s where… We thought digital divide was going to be overcome with investments in technology. We saw that that didn’t work. But when you have every child be invested in the marketplace and allow the growth of the marketplace to grow the investment that that child has from zero to 18, so that they can utilize it to enhance their future career opportunities.
Adrian Nazarian: (21:35)
Today is a great day to see that happen. I thank you Governor for wholeheartedly pursuing this and for investing in this. And I look forward to seeing the first classes of students benefiting from this program. Because this is going to be an irrevocable program that’s going to benefit all children in California. Thank you. And it gives me a great pleasure to introduce my wonderful colleague, Kevin McCarty, Mr. Education for the State Assembly.
Kevin McCarty: (22:08)
Good morning. I know I’m in the Valley and just to clarify, I’m not Kevin McCarty so one letter, but a big difference. I’m… No, Kevin McCarthy is also a supporter of early ed, because it’s not a partisan issue. This is an issue that we can all embrace, this is an issue that all Californians in the nation can embrace. This is an exciting day to celebrate our amazing year investing in early ed in California, from our budget, to our bills that Governor’s about to sign. I want to thank the Governor for his leadership on early ed. But you know what? Thanking you for your leadership, that’s not enough. That’s the line we get all the time. I’m here to claim that this Governor is the best Governor in our history of California for early education. Absolutely.
Kevin McCarty: (22:56)
Because we’ve been trying do what we accomplished this year for decades. And this was the year we finally focused on our values and our promises [inaudible 00:23:03] in California. As Dr. Arambula said, invest in our youth, invest in kids zero through five. And the bills today and the budget will do just that. They will transform our early education system and put kids on the road to success. In our state budget, we funded 200,000 new slots for childcare, to cut the waiting list in half serving families right here in the Valley who desperately need childcare. We increase the reimbursement rates to make sure that we pay our workforce, our professional, predominantly women of color who have these jobs early educators. Living wages. So they can stay in the classroom and not move on to other jobs. And the marquee of this, which the Governor’s going to talk about as well, we are launching the largest pre-K for all program through Universal Transitional Kindergarten in the nation. 250,000 new kids will get free pre-K for four-year-olds, regardless of income.
Kevin McCarty: (23:55)
This is a full school day program with wrap services for kids who are income eligible afterschool. This is a game changer for kids in California. This was elusive for many years as I said, I introduced this bill four times, there were four or 5, 6, 7 authors who introduced this bill for 20 years. But this is the year we finally made it a reality. California stepping up where other states that have done on this as well. This builds off our success. We have a TK classroom right here in this school. We’re going to do this at all schools for all kids in the communities. This is a win for our kids, for our families, and for our state. For families, currently, they pay tuition to go to pre-K, which frankly cost them more than going to UC Berkeley. So it’s a burden for so many middle-class families who can’t afford the subsidize.
Kevin McCarty: (24:44)
This is going to be a big help for middle-class families. As our mayor said and others, we know that kids who get early ed are more likely to stay successful in life, less likely to end up in the juvenile justice system, or a little more likely to break cycles of intergenerational poverty. This is something that we can certainly be proud of and a big, big win for Californians for years to come. So thank you for coming here today and thanks for everybody to make this a reality. And thank you again, Governor Newsom. With that, I want to bring up our great Senator from the Central Valley who is working hard for Valley families and our kids, Senator Hurtado.
Melissa Hurtado: (25:24)
Thank you Assembly member, Kevin McCarty, not McCarthy. It’s such an honor to have you here today and of course, the Governor and pretty much everybody in the legislature. But it really is. It’s an opportunity for you all to get to know the Central Valley a little bit more. I know that you here, myself, and Assembly member, Dr. Arambula talk about the Valley and the needs that the Valley has. But we know that these needs like childcare and early education, is something that really children all across the state need, children, families, and working parents. And so thank you so much for coming and joining us here today. It means the world to us. I want to talk a little bit about farm workers. We know that this is an agricultural region, that it’s extremely important to the state.
Melissa Hurtado: (26:17)
And I really want to take an opportunity to thank the Governor for his support of farm workers, for his support to make sure that there’s additional money and funds provided to farm workers and their children so that their kids being taken care of while they work. Because I know how difficult it can be when a parent that works, or both parents work in agriculture and they had to leave at four o’clock in the morning. Or sometimes, I know that I did this a little bit. My dad, he’s here sitting in the room. And while he doesn’t want me to say this out loud, but as a child, I grew up taking care and looking after my younger siblings. And that’s the reality of a lot of children here across the Central Valley. And so I just really want to thank the Governor, thank my colleagues for all of the support that they’ve committed to really, farm workers and the Central Valley and all young children. So thank you for being here and I will leave it at that. Thanks a lot. And up next, we have superintendent of public instruction, Tony Thurman, sorry.
Tony Thurman: (27:32)
That’s okay. Thank you, Senator. It’s a pleasure to be in your district. Assembly member, Arambula, pleasure to be in your district and be with the people of Fresno. Let me greet you properly. Good morning. [foreign language 00:27:46]. And so that’s about all I can do right there. But the students who are here at Sunset Elementary School are at a 100% dual immersion school. And that is the dream and the vision, that we should have for all of our students. And as we today, talk about this incredible investment in early education, we also talk about it in ways that layer in how we support dual immersion programs for all of our students. The Fresno community represents many aspects of our state. And the needs that you heard Senator Hurtado talk about represent many of the needs that we know exists all across our state.
Tony Thurman: (28:32)
They connect to many experiences [inaudible 00:28:35] talk about. I know that we’ve talked about this. Assembly member Arambula and I talked about this many times growing up and challenges that we’ve experienced. And for me, growing up, losing my mom at the age of six, being raised by a cousin who I never met, eating free lunch, government cheese, and using food stamps, something that doesn’t even exist anymore, a kind of public assistance that doesn’t exist. But that helped my family to overcome poverty. Many of you have heard me say though, the most important public program that helped my family of immigrants, of descendants of slaves to overcome poverty, was getting the chance at an education. It has been a great equalizer. And as you heard from Assembly member McCarty, today, what the Governor and the legislature have helped to create, is a game changer that has been in the works for decades. And now, finally, we have preschool for all in California. That deserves applause. Everyone knows, we’ve been saying this for decades, that when our children have access to early education, they’re more likely to graduate, go on to post-secondary education, they won’t drop out of school. But yet, as you’ve heard, this has been a goal that has alluded us. It is ironic that we meet this goal while we were facing the toughest challenge of our lifetime, the pandemic. But the pandemic has taught us that we must accelerate our efforts at closing learning gaps. And so I’m grateful to you, Governor Newsom and to the members of the legislature who brought these great resources forward, that you understand that now is the time to accelerate those efforts. So we can close learning gaps, so that we build a system of education that’s better than what we had before, and that we provide great things for all 6 million students and families in the state of California.
Tony Thurman: (30:20)
I would simply make a connection that here, we are in this place of learning, on this campus of learning. And right now, we are engaging in a campaign to raise a million books for students all across the state. So let’s put a few more books on the shelves here, and on the shelves of every library in the state of California. There is a nexus between early education and the ability to read. And many of you know, we’ve launched a campaign to help students learn to read by third grade. By the way that literacy focus also has a bi-literacy focus. We want to make sure that our children not only learn to read, but that our children learn to read and write in multiple languages. And our students who are learning multiple languages here at Sunset Elementary, like many other students in dual immersion programs, they outpace their peers.
Tony Thurman: (31:04)
It’s not to say that it’s a competition, but dual immersion programs give us resources to help students from all backgrounds achieve. Low-income students, students of color, multilingual learners, African American students, many who have experienced these gaps. This is the way we will help them to succeed through Universal Preschool. Thank you to those who worked on the bill, it was a pleasure to honor it with you. For the focus on dual language programs, thank you Assembly member Rivas for your leadership there, and for committing to programs that will help our students not only learn, but be able to live a great life as they go forward. It’s an honor to have been an honor of, I think all of these bills. And thank you Governor for throwing in the opportunity for them to have college savings plans. Because the reality is, for anybody who wants it, college is a reality.
Tony Thurman: (31:52)
If you’re willing to put in the work, then you can have a college education. And creating a savings plan, says that for every single family in this state, “You can have this, here are the resources to have that.” And so that’s it for me. I do want to just say one more thanks to all the great educators in this district and across the state like Ava Reese and so many others who do great work on behalf of our students in great times. It’s a pleasure now, for me to turn the mic over to a colleague and a friend who has championed this work for dual language immersion programs, who has championed work for supporting foster youth and for supporting the students who are among the least of us. She’s a brilliant engineer, now legislator. Oh, here she is. Please welcome the author of one of our key bills today, Assembly member Luz Rivas.
Luz Rivas: (32:41)
Thank you superintendent, and good morning to all. It’s been such a great welcoming this morning, especially by the city of Fresno, the Fresno educators that are all here joining us today at Sunset Elementary. Thank you to Dr. Arambula, my colleague in the Assembly and of course, Senator Melissa Hurtado, for also welcoming all of us that are here today on this important day. Where we’re announcing historic investments in early childhood education, the childhood savings accounts, all the other good stuff you’ve already heard from our colleagues. But I’m most excited of course, of a bill that I authored AB 1363. By signing AB 1363 today, California will become the first state in the nation to create a standardized process, to identify our dual language learners in our state preschools. This is very personal to me. When I was a little girl, I attended a state preschool in the late ’70s. And my first language at home was Spanish, so it was my first exposure to English. This is where I learned English in the state preschool. But unfortunately, the teachers back then, the preschool…
Luz Rivas: (34:03)
… preschool, but unfortunately, the teachers back then, the preschool teachers and the providers would punish us for speaking Spanish in the State preschool and this is 1978, ’79. Things were so different back then in California, and that’s why I’m proud that we’ve come this far. Now we’re going to be telling these young four year olds that speaking another language makes them more competitive in the future. In the future global workforce. I wish I would have had that encouragement when I was four years old, but I’m happy that now we’ll be doing that in California. Because speaking more than one language, I wish I spoke more than two languages will make us more competitive in the future and we should be embracing other languages.
Luz Rivas: (34:53)
And that’s why I’m proud that we’re announcing this today at Sunset Elementary here in Fresno, where they have a dual immersion program here for all of the children. And now we’ll be able to train our preschool teachers to identify the students and eventually provide them with professional development on how they can better prepare them for kindergarten. And so, I’d like to thank the California legislative women’s caucus. This bill was a priority bill for the women’s caucus, and I just want to thank all my fellow women legislators that voted to make this a priority this year in California. Without their support, we wouldn’t be here today. And of course, there’s a coalition of partners that made this possible. I’ll name a few, of course.
Luz Rivas: (35:46)
Our superintendent, Tony Thurmond, Early Edge California, Californians Together, Advancement Project California, and the California Association for Bilingual Education. All of these groups came together to make this possible today. And of course, I’d like to thank our governor because of his leadership and the importance he is placing on early education and dual immersion, this is why California has moved forward, so thank you very much. Before I introduce the next speaker, I want to give just brief comments in Spanish for our Spanish media that’s here today. [foreign language 00:36:28].
Luz Rivas: (36:27)
Okay, so next, I’d like to introduce Governor Newsom that is making all of these investments possible in our State, from early education, the child savings accounts, the dual immersion programs, all of this is possible because our governor has made early education a priority. And today, he’s not just saying it’s a priority, he’s going to sign bills and he has signed a budget that invests in our young ones. So I’m very proud to introduce Governor Gavin Newsom.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (39:54)
Thank you [inaudible 00:39:56]. I’m going to need them. Well, I’ll brag on all of you just in a moment, but let me thank all the folks, by the way, this is a spectacularly beautiful library. Well done librarian and our principal.
Speaker 1: (40:10)
Thanks so much.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (40:11)
I mean that. These are the places I avoided as a kid. So I know what I’m talking about.
Speaker 1: (40:19)
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (40:19)
It’s beautiful. And that tells me a lot about the rest of the school. So I just want to thank all of you and the staff, Mr. Superintendent, thank you for the privilege of your presence. Mr. Mayor, it’s always great to be with you here in Fresno. To the superintendent statewide to all my friends in the assembly and the Senate who I will touch upon and brag upon here in a moment. It’s good to be here. Look, I’ve been saying this a lot lately, particularly with going on in Washington, DC, but if you don’t like the way the world looks when you’re standing up, stand on your head and go local. Remarkable things are still happening at the local level. They may not be happening in Washington DC, but they’re happening in States.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (40:59)
They’re happening in cities and counties, regions all across the United States. It gives you a little bit of hopefulness at a time of fear and anxiety, stress about the nature of politics in this country. And so, I’m really proud to be here in that light, in that frame, because California is moving the needle. We’re making a difference. But we’re making a difference primarily because 40 million Californians every day are making a difference and keeping this economy afloat. And as a consequence of their ingenuity and their entrepreneurial spirit, of their grit and determination, California’s laying claim to having the fastest growing economy of all Western democracies. Over the last five years, the United States has outperformed many other countries, but it has not outperformed the State of California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (41:52)
21% GDP growth over the last five years, unprecedented of any Western democracy over the last five years on the globe. Last month, 40% of America’s jobs came out of the State of California, we’re the tent pole of the American job recovery. California as a consequence is enjoyed an $80 billion operating surplus, unprecedented in U.S. history. It allowed us to provide some $12 billion in tax rebates, and those dollars have been distributed over the course of last a number of months. And if you haven’t received your check, those dollars are still going out and it’s afforded us the opportunity to make unprecedented investments in the programs that we advanced in this year’s budget and the programs that we’re promoting and we’re codifying here today through legislative efforts.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (42:44)
[inaudible 00:42:44] Ricardi said over 20 years we’ve been talking about creating a new grade in the State of California. Five years, he’s been working on it stubbornly every single year, setting the bar of expectation, getting co-sponsors, often getting the bill to the Governor’s desk, but here finally, we’re in a position to create a brand new grade, TK for all in the State of California. It was noted about the number of people that will benefit from this, but I also want to highlight one of the critical components of the bill and our efforts is quality. Not just quantity, quality. The staff ratios in half, 24 down to about 12. Quality driving this determination to address not the achievement gap, but the real gap that persists and that’s the readiness gap.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (43:34)
And Dr. [Romola 00:43:35] said it beautifully, people are not left behind, they start behind. And that’s why it’s foundational, fundamental that we begin at the beginning. If you’re going to address the systemic challenges that we face as a nation, as a State, the issues of income and wealth disparity, you have to begin at the beginning. I would argue it’s prenatal care zero to three, not just zero to five, but here we are advancing a framework that I think will make all Californians proud as we apply it and implement it over the next few years. Accordingly, I couldn’t be more proud. When I got into State office, I was reading as a Lieutenant Governor, before I was Governor of some of [inaudible 00:44:19] efforts to build a framework of college going culture at the beginning as well by supporting these college savings accounts.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (44:25)
And the reason I paid a little attention to that as he references, I had the privilege as Mayor of San Francisco to do it, we call it kindergarten to college, and we became the first city in the United States to provide that for all incoming kindergartners. But to do it at scale, a State this large, that presents itself once in a lifetime and this opportunity presented itself as a consequence of this crisis and the consequence of the federal support that came to the State of California. I read an article yesterday about how in Alabama, they’re using federal money from the COVID relief funds to build two new prisons. I’m proud today, we’re using $2 billion of COVID relief funds to create a college going culture for three and a half million incoming kindergartners in the State of California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (45:14)
That’s a point of pretty stark contrast. But think about that. Once a mind is stretched, it never goes back to its original form. Once a mind is stretched, it never goes back to original form. You are seven times more likely to go to college. Seven times, objective, independent study after study shows this seven times more likely to go to college if you have even as little as $400 of savings. What we are providing is upwards of $1,500 for certain students, low-income students as a starter, and every year we’ll supplement and provide more support, a minimum, the legislature committed of $170 million a year to continue that program and we’re hoping to get matched savings. We’re hoping to get philanthropy involved.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (46:01)
We’re hoping that uncle Bill, John or aunt Cindy provides instead of maybe, well the $20 gift certificate to Roblox, and that’s a parent talking, you know what Roblox is. Maybe they put that $20 into that savings account. Maybe they start contributing to that young child from the beginning. That opportunity to not only match savings, create a college going culture of one of lifelong learning, but also provide a framework to create financial literacy. We need to talk more about financial literacy, and over half, we know this over half the families that will receive this benefit, over half don’t even have access to checking and savings themselves, the parents. But now their child will have the dignity to say, “Mom and dad, I have my own account in my own name.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (46:49)
How does that change their lives? This has never been done in the United States at this scale. This is exciting. And so, we’re here to mark this incredible moment. I really believe this is a big, big deal and so, one of the reasons I wanted to come here in particular, Fresno’s highlighted because a disproportionate number of your kids are going to get this advantage. It’s really exciting. And so, we’re here in that spirit. Look, you’ve heard from so many of us and everybody spoke so eloquently about the priorities they see in the bill package that we’re signing, I’ll sign three bills today. There’s dozens of others that are in this space, we’ll just spare you the time, but I want to just thank them for taking the time.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (47:31)
Many of them come from Southern California, parts of Northern California here into the central valley to really highlight the importance of their work, dual immersion, all the incredible importance about early screening. Dr. Romola bringing that up. And by the way, a dyslexic kid that was not diagnosed early, I keep thinking what if I was diagnosed a little early? The power and potency of those early screening efforts. And so, I want to thank you [inaudible 00:47:57] for your incredible leadership on this and the women’s caucus and others for making sure this is prioritized. As well, Senator, I want to thank you for highlighting some of the wage disparities and creating some regional wage [inaudible 00:48:08] as it relates to migrant childcare and highlighting that issue in particular.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (48:12)
As well, highlighting the fact as the assembly member said of the 200,000 childcare slots, but it’s again, not just the numbers, it’s the how we’re doing it. And as the assembly members said, highlighting the empowerment, disproportionate empowerment of women, and particularly women of color that now have a voice around the bargaining table and now have the ability to be more influential in the quality of care that they provide as well as the cultural competency that’s foundational in any successful effort we advance in America’s most diverse State. And so, I’m here again with gratitude to the remarkable legislative leaders, to the superintendent of public education and I’ll close on this as well because we had the ability this year to do things beyond just what we’re highlighting today.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (49:01)
That includes afterschool for all, summer school for all. They’ve been talking about that for 20 years as well, and this legislature, we fully funded it, $5 billion over the next few years. Mental health care screening for every single child, 0 to 25 in the State of California, $4.3 billion commitment. In isolation, these are big announcements and always the fear when you make so many, you stack them is they get lost. But I hope people will pause and really break down, including the $6 billion we were here in the valley a few weeks back talking about the broadband package. I mean, this is a transformative year and I say that in final words, truly because it’s been a hard year and a half right on everybody.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (49:55)
It’s still hard. It’s true, we have the nation’s lowest case rates in America, it still feels stubborn. It’s hard. Masking and all this. So I just want to acknowledge that as well in closing. I know how hard this has been, but there’s some remarkable things that are happening and there’s some seeds that we’re planning that no other State in America has ever planted and I think that’s going to pay huge dividends for years and years to come. So thank you all very, very much and in that light, let me just sign this legislation and we’re here to answer any questions. All right. These are your bills, so you guys get here as I hand these to you. 1363, congratulations and 393, SB 393. And 1294, I’m going to give it to you two, because the author’s not here, so we’re going to give it to …
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (51:03)
… neither of them, the author’s not here, so we’re going to give it [inaudible 00:51:04] Where’s Dr. Arambula? Get in here, doctor. [crosstalk 00:51:07] Yeah, this is our representative caucus here. [inaudible 00:51:17] All right. Thank you all. And we’re here, of course, to answer any questions and because the mayor’s here, I’ll defer to the mayor on the response.
Speaker 2: (51:28)
You made a point of being here in Fresno to introduce all these [inaudible 00:51:31] how crucial would that be to Latino families kids or families that work in the fields and sometimes they don’t have those access to pre-K to private school, to college funds. How crucial is this for all the Latino farm-worker families?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (51:45)
I want all members of the Latino community, all members of this community to have the same opportunities as folks down in Beverly Hills. I mean it. Because if they do, there’s nothing to hold back this region. I say it over and over again. The talent out here in the valley it’s… I mean, talent here is equal to the talent… The Central Valley is equal to the folks out there in Silicon Valley, it’s just opportunity. And that’s why we’re here to highlight our responsibility to do more than rhetoric, to deliver that opportunity in an equitable manner. And so, these announcements, this budget overwhelmingly and disproportionately benefits Latino community, overwhelmingly and disproportionately benefits mixed status families [inaudible 00:52:40] benefits people here in the Central Valley and farm-worker families, as well. [crosstalk 00:52:48]
Speaker 3: (52:50)
Governor, [inaudible 00:52:51] I have questions about the college savings plan.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (52:53)
Speaker 3: (52:53)
How does it work? At what family income level do kids qualify? And then further down the line, what safeguards are in place to ensure that investment goes to its intended purpose, whether it’s college education or vocational training?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (53:07)
We’re doing something at a scale that’s never been done before, so a lot of the details and the application need to be worked out over the course of the next many weeks. Now here’s the good news, we have pilot programs and I want to ask the assembly member who’s been principle in establishing those pilot programs, including the funding we provided a year or so ago, that have a framework and have the eligibility requirements in place and the security and privacy requirements, which are a big component of this, in place to give you a sense of what the program will look like. But again at a different scale, three and a half million.
Adrian Nazarian: (53:40)
Thank you Governor, and thank you for the question. First of all, the goal was to set up a universal program that emulates what currently exists anyway, but unfortunately is used by a very, very small minority group in California. You look at 5-29 plans, the college fund plans, less than 10%, not even double digit, of the families in California utilize it. Which means that, it’s primarily those that can afford it. So the plan was, if we want to allow universal access to college or career enhancing opportunities, we provide a universal program at birth, every child born, roughly about 450,000 annually in California, to have an account.
Adrian Nazarian: (54:24)
Then by the time they’re enrolled in first grade because some families move from California, or for whatever purposes, there’s movement between birth and six years of age. So what ends up happening is, if your family is still in California, first year enrollment you will receive a $500 bonus for lower income families. Roughly 3.7 million of the children of the 6 million children in California will qualify for that.
Adrian Nazarian: (54:58)
And about the CEF, that’s something that we’ve taken very seriously and have been working on over years. We’ve worked with the California Department of Health to ensure every childbirth that happens in California is who will be receiving the funding. And the program stays custodial until parents get engaged and activate the accounts. That’s a key component of all of this where we want to make sure that the money gets put into place, but, it gets turned over once the children or their parents get engaged and the program gets kick started. That’s an important component of it. Thank you, Governor.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (55:38)
No, thank you. And my hope and expectation… It’s expectation, not just hope… is that you’re going to have cities and counties matching the programs, the state’s support, and you’re going to have philanthropy step up in a big way. We’ve seen that across the country with the small programs, including in San Francisco, but this is a real opportunity to leverage dollars. And again, your homeless youth under certain criteria as much as $1,500, minimum $500 for everybody. But we are hopeful that those dollars can significantly grow over a very short period of time.
Speaker 4: (56:07)
Can you talked a little bit more about specifically why here, today, this school? You know, you can be anywhere to do these things and yet you chose to be Fresno [inaudible 00:56:18]
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (56:19)
I love Fresno. I love the Central Valley. [crosstalk 00:56:24] I mean it. And, I’ve said this and Mayor can attest to this because we’ve had this opportunity to be in a similar circumstance where I’ve repeated it, but I’ll repeat it again because it needs to be repeated. You matter and we care.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (56:40)
I’m deeply frustrated about the world we’re living in. I’m deeply concerned about it. I’m deeply concerned about our politics. I’m deeply concerned about our divisions. I tried to express that, and forgive me for going back, having just gone through a recall, but I tried to express it on the night of the recall. In terms that, we’re attempting to try to unify and reconcile because our differences are so insignificant compared to the things we share in common. We all want to be respected, connected, protected. We all love, we all need to be loved. I just, I can’t take it anymore.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (57:25)
I say that not as governor, but as a dad. I worry about our kids, I said it on election, I worry what our kids are watching on TV every single night. And so I want folks here in the valley to know, it doesn’t matter where you were on the recall. It could have been 80% pro recall… Just, you matter. And we got to do more to demonstrate that. And so I’m going to be back here until they kick me out, many, many times to make that point and to listen, to learn, to absorb, to experience humbled by the challenges that we all face. Humbled by the challenges you face out here in the valley, in terms of economic opportunity, workforce development, issues related to air quality and water issues. And obviously the unique and challenging issues for farm-workers and Ag leaders across the state, business leaders. Look, we have work to do and so I’m here in that spirit. Forgive the long-windedness answer.
Tony Thurmond: (58:24)
Thank you, Governor.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (58:26)
Jocelyn Moran: (58:26)
Jocelyn Moran here with CBS47. First part of the question, with these college savings accounts, does documentation status of these families matter at all? And second part of the question, it’s similar to what’s been asked but, the community we’re in specifically has been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, the poor air quality that we’re experiencing now. What’s your hope for children right now in the long run that this legislation could impact?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (58:50)
Well, more broadly, we just signed a few weeks ago a $15 billion climate package. Again, unprecedented in US history, that level of investment for immediate relief related to specific issues here in the valley, as it relates to issues of water, air quality, as it relates to the issues that are unique and distinctive to farm workers as well as farmers themselves. As relates to issues of regenerative agriculture and healthy soils and opportunities to convert tractors to more modern equipment, to support immediate, safe drinking water needs and longer term investments to consolidate smaller wells and to do more to prepare for the possibility of a third year of extreme drought.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (59:47)
As it relates to this package, it’s an application and an implementation that will take a few years. I don’t want to overpromise all of this turns on overnight. Now, the savings accounts, that process will unfold more rapidly. But over a three year period, we have grants for programs that were advanced here with 1363, we have specific timelines over the next three years on TK, five years on after school for all. So it’s over the course of the next few years, this will unfold.
Jocelyn Moran: (01:00:21)
And documentation status?
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:00:21)
Regardless. Yeah. We’ve done that with ITIN holders and CalEITC, we are doing that regardless of your status for healthcare, we expanded it for 50 and above. And again, I was so touched that your Mayor was there for that bill signing and how important it was to have his presence for that. We were here, again, in Fresno when we announced that and we signed that bill. We’re continuing to find and fill those gaps and we have a lot more work to do in that respect.
Speaker 5: (01:00:49)
We have the last question [inaudible 01:00:50] over here.
Speaker 6: (01:00:53)
Yes. You know, you talked a lot about setting up students for success, and I want to go back to another big school announcement you made about vaccine requirements and the fact that students who are exempt cannot enroll in class. So, is that setting up those students to be left behind really, given the challenges you’ve seen [inaudible 01:01:12]
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:01:12)
You have a personal belief exemption. So I think that’s a accommodating by definition, religious exemption, medical exemption. I want to remind folks, I think it’s really important to be reminded, as a father I’m reminded. I have a 12 year old, she’s not getting this week her… She just turned 12. She has to get a series of other shots before then she gets the COVID shot. She, like all of our kids in the state of California is required to take 10 vaccination shots, already. Measles, mumps, polio, so many, rubella. So many diseases. Yet we don’t have the furor, the controversy. This happens when there’s full FDA approval. It happens prospectively in the next semester of school.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:02:02)
I believe that how we’ve framed it will provide adequacy in not only notice, but opportunity and engage parents and caregivers and give people opportunity to meet with primary care physicians or school nurses, talk through, maybe they have some existing anxieties, work through those things. And work with the districts on the application applied. But I’m not naive about vaccination requirements period. Nor was I naive two years ago when we were debating other vaccination requirements in the school that had nothing to do with COVID-19 that were relatively intense, to say that modestly.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:02:35)
So, I recognize the stress, but I also recognize that we need to stress that this disease is not behind us and that we may fall victim to, in many respects what we fell a little bit victim to last year, and that was a sense of, “Well, you know, this is behind us.” And yet, that winter became a very challenging, particularly challenging January and February. We were ordering body bags from out-of-state into Southern California. And I’m mindful that, that could occur again if we don’t put a lid on this and get this disease behind us.
Gov. Gavin Newsom: (01:03:16)
With that, thank you, on a somber note. But let me again, thank you all very much for the incredible leadership and all the incredible leaders here. Thank you very, very much for making this day possible.
Speaker 3: (01:03:29)
Governor [inaudible 01:03:30] air quality is pretty bad-