November 17, 2021
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Plan to Transform California Schools, Embarks on Statewide Listening Tour
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond joined other California Department of Education (CDE) leaders at a press event today to announce the integration of a host of programs and strategies to help transform education in California schools, along with student and family supports. State Superintendent Thurmond is seeking input on needs and challenges and will be touring the state to get feedback from school leaders, family members, and students on how to best implement these programs to provide the most benefits for everyone involved.
“The pandemic, as challenging as it has been, provided us the opportunity to sharply focus our work. Our students are resilient, but we need to recover and close the gaps and disproportionate impacts exacerbated especially on students of color,” Thurmond said. “Ironically, it is in this pandemic that we now have resources never seen before to address some of the biggest needs in education. I am grateful to the Governor, Legislature, and people of California for partnering with us and providing us with this incredible opportunity to make a change. Now that we have this support, I look forward to inviting California students and family members to share ideas on how to improve education in California and hear feedback from school leaders on how to support the smooth implementation of these programs for California schools.”
Chief Deputy Superintendent Mary Nicely added: “The Department and this team are unapologetic in setting equity and students at the heart of everything we do every day. We are hopeful for the future and for closing the persistent opportunity gaps that have existed for so many of our students for way too long.”
At the center of the transformation is a $3 billion community schools strategy and programs to implement universal meals for all students, universal transitional kindergarten for every four-year-old child, universal expanded learning programs, a $10 million grant for anti-racism training, and a $1.5 billion dollar strategy for educator professional development to strengthen teaching and learning. Thurmond and his team at the CDE also intend to align with related efforts led by partners that focus on educator recruitment and diversification of the workforce and a $4.3 billion strategy to expand mental health programs for youth to twenty-five years of age.
Other highlights include legislation and funding to help close the digital divide, an ethnic studies requirement commencing with the 2025–26 school year, a task force and literacy/biliteracy initiative to ensure that all students can read by third grade by 2026, and a task force to support and improve Black student achievement statewide. Thurmond also intends to name a Community Schools Advisory Council to support the implementation of community schools.
The full recording of the press conference can be found on the CDE Facebook web page .
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100