May 12, 2021
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Praises Governor’s Proposed $15 Billion for Schools Plan for Putting Needs of Students and Families First
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond joined Governor Gavin Newsom, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly, and State Board of Education President Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond at Elkhorn Elementary School in Castroville to herald a bold plan to propel public education in California back to the top in the nation.
State Superintendent Thurmond cheered the unprecedented investments proposed for class-size reduction; learning acceleration; afterschool programs; universal transitional kindergarten; and critical wraparound mental health, social, and family services so critically needed to put students and families back on track as California continues to make its way out of the pandemic. Underscoring how students and schools are facing “the toughest experience of our lifetime,” Thurmond praised the proposal for the much-needed investments in social-emotional and mental health supports. Drawing on his personal history, Thurmond recounted experiencing tragedy at age six when he lost his mother to cancer and was uprooted to be raised by an unknown cousin across the country. He emphasized the importance of recognizing the personal trauma of students who may have lost family members to COVID-19; face housing and food insecurity; or struggle emotionally with the acceleration of hate, bigotry, and racism throughout our communities and nation.
“It is not lost on me,” Thurmond stated, “That as more and more students return to classrooms, as much as it is important for us to focus on how we accelerate learning and provide tutoring and professional development for educators to offset learning gaps that our students have experienced, I can’t think of anything more important than how we address the social-emotional learning needs of our students and their mental health and their well-being.”
Specifically, Thurmond commended the Governor for committing billions of dollars to help the behavioral health systems that support California students. Thurmond cited a stretched and fractured system that has existed for decades trying to support student mental health through a patchwork created by school and county health resources. He called for the investments to be used to fill gaps and to layer resources that address trauma and support the well-being of students.
Sharing the essence of the California Roars Back plan for schools, Thurmond underscored, “As we come out of this difficult circumstance, we are capturing the moment to make the investments that propel us forward to support the needs of our students and, at the same time, to reimagine how we approach education. We must look at all the things that didn't work for our students and families before and take that knowledge to support them going forward.”
View Governor Newsom’s Transforming Public Schools proposal .A recording of the press conference is available on YouTube .
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100