While I didn’t post my blog assignment this week, I did have some good reasons. On Thursday, before 1am, I left home in my rented car (really, I only own a motorcycle). I drove through the night to the State Capitol, arriving in Sacramento at about 6:30 in the morning. At 8am, the doors to the Capitol opened and I roamed the halls a while, looking for my Senator’s office. I then went to listen in on the Senate hearing for the morning which preceded the Education Committee Meeting chaired by “my” senator. A bit before 11am I was a part of a hundred or so people who were there to listen to the committee discuss child care, state preschool, transitional kindergarten and the child nutrition program.
Since these truly are trends in policy that are happening at this very moment, I wanted to share some thoughts with you on this “adventure”. The only issue that the committee resolved during their discussion was to oppose the Governor’s proposal to eliminate funding for transitional kindergarten. This was a result of some significant questions as to the real cost savings that the State could expect to realize from the proposed cuts. One of the legislators (Simitian) sponsoring bills on transitional kindergarten made a great case for preserving its funding. Given the “opening” a committee member (Wright) quickly moved that the committee oppose the proposed cuts to transitional kindergarten.
We were less fortunate with the discussion around restoring funding to state-funded child care and preschool. Representatives from the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) and the governor’s staff joined the conversation with staff from the Department of Education and presented their thoughts. Senator Wright was displeased however that they were unable to present alternative proposals to save money. At the end of the Senate discussion, they stated that no other action would occur until after the May “Revise” when the fiscal condition of the state is better known. I then joined the line of dozens of parents, teachers and association members that were given a few seconds to speak to the committee. I was back home by 8pm that same Thursday.
On Saturday, I joined a rally of perhaps 2,000 parents, teachers, family child care providers and CHILDREN in downtown Los Angeles. We rallied and heard speakers in both English and Spanish. It was wonderful to hear children’s music blasting from the donated sound system in downtown to a crowd of thousands wearing red shirts and waving signs and flags. It was a diverse crowd with parents and children coming in on buses. Agency representatives, some political figures that supported child care and some businesses were also on hand. Programs were on hand, many of them donating volunteers, equipment or materials. The Southern California Chinese Family Child Care Association represented additional diverse families and a program came all the way from San Diego. After the speakers, we marched a short way to the governor’s office and heard more speakers. We received a bit of media coverage.
I was a part of the clean-up team. We were actually un-necessary. It was amazing, but the streets were actually cleaner AFTER our rally and march! Everyone was extremely respectful and it was a truly wonderful day to be a part of this profession.
Anyway, that’s why I didn’t post my blog assignment. I was pre-occupied with trends and issues occurring “real time” in my community!