National, state, and local research, policy and advocacy to improve the lives of kids

Both individual and organization members are important to the collective impact of The Children's Movement of California. No matter how you sign up, you'll get all the Movement has to offer. But if you can, please join as an organization.

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Joining simply means being identified as "Pro-Kid" and wanting children prioritized in state policymaking. You'll also receive updates and information about key kids' issues and campaigns.

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Ruth Musser-Lopez

Questions 

1. California ranks among the top states in per capita expenditures on a number of government programs, but below the national average on expenditures for children’s programs, including education and Medi-Cal. What are your thoughts on this prioritization of expenditures and what, if any, changes would you make in this regard?

I support more funding for children's program including pre-school, daycare, behavorial health. I support shift of funds from federal spending on oversized contracts to the military industrial complex and Trump's slush fund; closing tax loopholes; higher tax brackets for high income corporations and individuals.

2. When children who have been neglected or abused enter foster care, the state becomes their legal parent, and bears responsibility for their care and supervision and to ensure they have the opportunity to heal and thrive. What is your position on the need for strengthening the child welfare system?

Support.

3. California has a significant shortage of highly-trained and well-supported caregivers to open their homes to children who have been abused and neglected and enter foster care. What strategies would you support, if any, to increase the number of safe and loving families for children in foster care?

I support increasing training and funding. Just, fair and even generous compensation for caregivers.

4. California committed state dollars for the first time this year to evidenced-based home visiting programs, yet they will still reach only 2% of families with young children. What are your thoughts on increasing access to evidence-based home visiting? What other strategies, if any, do you support to aid new and expectant parents and young children during this critical phase of life?  

Support funding for increasing access to visits. Base income for all.

5. Sixty-two percent of the state’s children are born into low-income households, yet only 14% of income-eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in a publicly-supported child care program.  What is your position on this issue, and what, if anything, should be done to ensure that all families have access to high-quality child care? 

Support incentives for enrollment in publicly supported child care including a base income linked to enrollment agreement.

6. The average salary of a California public employee is over $81,000. The average salary of a California preschool educator is just over $34,000, and that of a child care provider is just over $26,000. What are your ideas, if any, about responding to this disparity?

Educators who are responsible for our most precious asset (children) should not be paid at a lower pay scale than other pubic service employees. Legislators should revise the pay schedules to bring parity of income. To have world-class schools in California, we must attract the best teachers—we do that through incentives such as attractive income and benefit packages. Educators at all grade levels deserve our highest consideration.

7. Students of color are more likely to be suspended and expelled, which contributes to significant achievement gaps and ultimately the pipeline from school to prison. What are your thoughts on how the Legislature should respond to this issue?

End the high school to prison pipeline. For one, the complexion of the teaching staff should be a reflection of the diversity of the student enrollment as much as possible. This would generate more confidence that students are not being unfairly treated based on the color of their skin or their speech or their culture.

A base pay for seniors transition into jobs would provide them with the support they need when family and household pressures them to move out. A legislated base pay would remove "survivor" modes forced upon seniors.

8. Educational research highlights the strong correlation between student success and teacher quality. What changes to state policy would you support, if any, to help ensure that every public school teacher is effective?

I support publicly funded continued education and training on an annual basis for teachers to supplement their job skills, knowledge and experience. In a rapidly changing technological world, such training is essential. Our Department of Education should include a team of curriculum developers working with the various California based industries who would assist and usher educators into relevant training programs specifically developed and designed for teachers to learn how to instruct students with regard to working in and with industry using new and innovative technologies.

9. California nationally ranks 50th in class size, 50th in school librarians, 49th in school counselors and 47th in school administrators. What are your thoughts on these rankings, based on staff to student ratios, and what, if anything, should be done in response?   

I assume that the ranking means that California's student-teacher ratio, student- librarian ratio, student-counselor ratio and student-administrator ratio is more students than most other states. Obviously, people are attracted to California and want to be enrolled in our California schools so that is not a bad thing. To bring the ratios down, we need to hire more staff. This would increase the number of employment opportunities in the state. Further, the state could cap the ratios and fund construction of new schools and classrooms. I assume that the cost of operation in California is higher than in most states...federal funding for California schools should be increased.

10. California has the highest percentage of kids who are dual language learners, ages 0-5, (60%) and school-age English learners (21%) in the country. How will you support these students’ bilingual/multilingual potential? What are your thoughts on how educators in early education and TK-12 can be prepared to assist these students to meet their language development needs?


Support employment of bilingual teachers in the early education, TK-12 public schools. Pay scales should attract bilingual teachers. Pay scales should not be less than other public employee sectors.

11. In the last decade, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs in California grew by 19% and currently represent 7 of the 10 fastest growing occupations. Yet many high schools don’t offer the STEM courses needed for college or STEM careers, such as calculus, physics and chemistry. What are your thoughts on the need to support and increase access to high-quality STEM instruction in our schools?

More funding for STEM programs. Shift federal military funding to STEM programs.

12. Over the past 40 years, total state spending on higher education has declined by 6%, dropping from 18% to 12% of the state budget. There are an increasing number of students graduating from high school and eligible for college enrollment. What is your position on funding for public higher education?

Increase funding for public higher education. Shift federal military funding to California public higher education.

13. Over 55% of California’s kids are enrolled in Medi-Cal, but California performs near the bottom amongst all state Medicaid programs when it comes to children’s access to primary care physicians and periodic childhood screenings, especially for children of color. What are your thoughts on this issue?

Increase funding and access through the public school system. Shift federal military budget to medicare for all. Provide childhood health screenings and primary health care at public schools.

14. Less than 5% of children eligible for specialty mental health services under the early & periodic screening diagnosis & treatment (EPSDT) Medi-Cal benefit actually receive any service. What is your position on this issue and what, if anything, should be done to ensure that more eligible children receive mental health care?

Increase funding and access through the public school system. Shift federal military budget to medicare for all. Provide childhood mental health services and screenings at public schools.

15. Despite the fact that the top reason children miss school in California is due to preventable oral health problems, millions of children in the state lack access to dental services. What is your position on this issue and what, if anything, should be done to address access for children, including 0-5 year olds, to oral health services?

Increase funding and access to dentistry through the public school system. Shift federal military budget to medicare for all. Provide childhood oral health services and screenings at public schools.