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Public Outcry over Proposed State Budget Cuts to Kids Hits YouTube

Jun 13, 2012

OAKLAND, CA—A broad group of respected leaders and concerned citizens are posting videos onto a YouTube channel to express their opposition to children shouldering a huge portion of the $8.3 billion in budget cuts proposed by the Brown Administration. So far, nearly 300 video testimonials by community leaders, business owners, teachers, parents and even children across the state have been posted, urging California to invest in early education.

A first-grader pleads: “Please, Governor Brown, don’t shut down our school. All of us need our school. Please, Governor Brown.” A small business owner points out: “The women that work with me have so few options as it is.” And a local government leader states: “Every report shows that if young children don’t get appropriate care that their chance of succeeding in school goes down proportionately. So, I think this cut is penny wise, pound foolish.”

“We know learning begins at birth, and investing in the early years of a child’s life is clearly sound policy,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, which set up the channel, Invest in California’s Kids, and leads The Children’s Movement of California. “The YouTube channel provides a platform for anyone to tell policymakers why early learning matters to them personally, and people are telling powerful stories that I hope will change the direction of things.”

Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), a key partner in the YouTube project, concurs.

“By using the power of their collective voices, our LAUP Parent Ambassadors are helping to spread the word about the importance and critical need for a high-quality preschool education,” said Celia C. Ayala, chief executive officer of LAUP. “They have seen firsthand the positive effects of preschool on their children’s social and emotional well-being, as well as their ability to be kindergarten ready. Now, these heartfelt testimonials will show why we all need to invest in early educational opportunities for the children of Los Angeles County, so that they have a chance at a successful future.”

The May Revision of the 2012-13 state budget proposes to cut almost $500 million from California’s early learning and development system on top of over $1 billion in cuts since 2008. The Administration is also proposing to move responsibility for that system out of the Department of Education, where it is currently housed, which would be disastrous, according to children’s advocates.

The Legislature will vote on the updated budget proposal on Friday.

The Invest in California’s Kids YouTube Channel can be viewed here.

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