Teach Plus California supports Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposals to Reinforce Efforts to Build an Excellent and Diverse Education Workforce and Realize the Promise of Educational Equity in LCFF, and Urges State Leaders to Elevate Positive School Climate in the State Budget.

Teach Plus California supports Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposals to Reinforce Efforts to Build an Excellent and Diverse Education Workforce and Realize the Promise of Educational Equity in LCFF, and Urges State Leaders to Elevate Positive School Climate in the State Budget.

The Honorable Phil Ting
Chair, Assembly Committee on Budget
1021 O Street, Suite 8230
Sacramento, California 95814

The Honorable Kevin McCarty
Chair, Assembly Committee on Budget
1021 O Street, Suite 4250
Sacramento, California 95814

The Honorable Nancy Skinner
Chair, Budget and Fiscal Review
1021 O St., Suite 8630
Sacramento, California 95814

The Honorable John Laird
Chair, Budget and Fiscal Review, Sub. 1 on Education
1021 O St., Suite 8720
Sacramento, California 95814

May 17, 2023

Dear Budget Committee Chairs:

As classroom teachers and Teach Plus Policy Fellows, we are writing to share our insights about opportunities we see in this year’s budget to build and sustain an excellent, empowered and diverse teaching force in California and to lay the groundwork for transformational shifts in the climate, culture and instruction in our schools.

First of all, we are very appreciative that Governor Newsom continues to prioritize TK-12 education and in particular prioritizing addressing historic educational inequities, even as the state faces a budget shortfall. We appreciate the governor’s attempt to enable school districts to follow through on implementing the recent investments to address historic inequities and the impact of the pandemic.

Ensuring the Promise of LCFF

For the last ten years, California leaders have initiated myriad policy changes in an effort to advance educational equity. With a focus on local control and continuous improvement, the state has invested billions of dollars in new initiatives. These efforts rely on intentional, effective, and reflective implementation to truly improve opportunities for students. While the success of these initiatives relies heavily on local leaders, we believe that state leaders must also establish the necessary infrastructure to support the success of these gap-closing efforts. We believe that there are some key elements of the Governor’s proposal that make progress toward that end. Specifically, the proposed changes to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) accountability system and a statewide system of support take critical steps toward ensuring that the LCFF fulfills the promise that was made ten years ago to address historic inequities and focus resources on helping California’s most marginalized students. In particular, we support the additional funding for county offices of education (COEs) to provide differentiated assistance.  We also support the addition of focus goals rooted in Dashboard data. But as we have seen LEAs continue to pursue the same actions over and over despite a lack of progress in the outcomes for targeted students, we recommend that you utilize the January Budget language, which requires focus goal actions to be new or modified.

In addition to these updates to the LCAP that provide essential guidance to local leaders as they lead local engagement and improvement processes, there is also an opportunity to ensure local leaders are prioritizing positive school climate in local improvement efforts. Our hope is that as local leaders are developing focus goals to address inequitable outcomes for different student groups, they will be able to address drivers of those outcomes that are rooted in their school climate and culture. When those within school communities feel safe, valued, cared for, respected, and engaged, learning increases. Additionally, school climate strongly influences educator recruitment, well-being and retention.  The state can help ensure that local education leaders prioritize this data and use it effectively to meet the needs of their students, teachers, and community. We recommend that the Legislature invest in building out the state data system on school climate surveys to enable LEAs to set meaningful goals related to improving school climate. The first step to do that is to identify standardized items for local educational agencies to use as part of the school climate survey for pupils and to support evaluating the feasibility of developing standardized items for surveys of parents, teachers, and other school staff. The 2021-22 Education Trailer Bill included $150,000 to begin that process. That amount proved inadequate. Teach Plus recommends that the state invest $500,000 to move this work forward. We believe that this is a critical step that the state must take, to allow for statewide comparable school climate data and local goals and actions focused on addressing how school culture and climate affects our students and educators.

We are also pleased to see an ongoing investment in the Local Control and Accountability Plan eTemplate and Query Tool and additional refinements to the Educator Assignment Monitoring and reporting system.

Building and Sustaining an Excellent, Empowered and Diverse Teaching Force in California

We are pleased to see the Governor’s proposals that refine and expand previous programs to foster a sustainable, diverse educator workforce. We support the proposals in the May Revise that help address the barriers into the profession that have disproportionately affected candidates of color. In particular, we support Governor Newsom’s proposals to:

  • Update the Teacher and School Counselor Residency Grant Program to increase the allowable salaries or stipends amount for residents to $40,000, expand the use of funds for compensation packages, and extend the service requirement deadline.
  • Increase the investment in the Golden State Teacher Grant Program with $6 million of federal funds for candidates enrolled in special education preparation programs, as well as maintaining the focus of the grants on candidates who work at a priority school or a California preschool program.
  • Direct the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to develop a teacher candidate transcript review process, determining how it can ensure that transcripts will be reviewed for all candidates requiring determinations of basic skills or subject matter competence in order to complete their credentialing requirements.

We also support the Governor’s proposals that will help not only support and retain diverse and effective educators, but also help ensure positive, culturally affirming school climate and and instruction, including:

  • Investing $7 million for LEAs to implement best practices in Restorative Justice;
    Reinvesting $3 million in Professional Development and Leadership Training for education professionals related to anti-bias education and the creation of inclusive and equitable schools; and
    Reinvesting $20 million in the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program.

We appreciate Governor Newsom’s continued prioritization of TK-12 education in the 2023-24 budget and his proposals to reinforce that existing programs truly advance the needs of California students who have been underserved by our system for far too long. We support the governor’s proposals to continue to prioritize education and educational equity and we believe with these modest investments, we can more effectively lay the foundation for the transformation that our students need. If you have any questions about our recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our names and email addresses are below.


Sarah Lillis
Executive Director
Teach Plus California

Justine Bernacet
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Heather David
Middle School Teacher
Creekside Charter School
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Sergio de Alba
Elementary Teacher
Los Banos Unified School District
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Lorena Ellis
Elementary School Teacher
Azusa Unified School District
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Juan Resendez
High School Social Studies Teacher
Irvine Unified School District
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Alex Robins
High School Social Science Teacher
San Rafael City Schools
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Manuel Rustin
High School Ethnic Studies Teacher
Pasadena Unified School District
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Joshua Salas
Special Education Teacher, Department Chair
Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
Teach Plus Senior Policy Fellow

Nikysha D. Gilliam
English/English Language Development Teacher
Los Angeles Unified School District
Teach Plus Senior Policy Fellow

Jenna Hewitt King
High School English Teacher
San Leandro Unified School District
Teach Plus Senior Policy Fellow

Lindsey Horowitz
Special Education Teacher
Los Angeles Unified School District
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Noaveyar Lee
Coordinator, K-12 School Counseling Services
Orange County Department of Education
Teach Plus Fellow

Wendy Threatt
Elementary Teacher
Felicita Elementary School
Escondido Union School District
Teach Plus Senior Policy Fellow

Renee Thomas
2022-23 Teach Plus Policy Fellow
Social Science & Spanish Teacher
San Diego Unified Schools District

Latiphony Wells
Lead Humanities Teacher
Making Waves Academy
Teach Plus Policy Fellow

Allison Zamora
Special Education Teacher
Escondido Union School District
Teach Plus Policy Fellow


Joe Shea, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Governor’s Office
Ben Chida, Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Governor’s Office
Brooks Allen, Executive Director, State Board of Education (SBE)
Jessica Holmes, Chief Deputy Executive Director, SBE
Debra Brown, Senior Policy Advisor, SBE
Sara Pietrowski, Policy Consultant, SBE
Chris Ferguson, Education Program Budget Manager, Dept. of Finance
Lina Grant, Dept. of Finance
Melissa Ng, Dept. of Finance
Amber Alexander, Dept. of Finance
Andrew Medina, Policy Director, Senate President pro Tempore’s Office
Elisa Wynne, Staff Director, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
Yong Salas, Education Consultant, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
Kate Chatfield, Legislative Director, Senator Skinner
Quincy Stivers, Legislative Aide, Senator Laird Staff
Lynn Lorber, Chief Consultant, Senate Education Committee
Brendan Hughes, Chief of Staff, Senator Newman Staff
Misty Feusahrens, Policy Director, Assembly Speaker’s Office
Christian Griffith, Chief Consultant, Assembly Budget Committee
Erin Gabel, Education Consultant, Assembly Budget Committee
Tania Dikho, Legislative Director, Assemblymember Ting
Garrett Jensen, Legislative Director, Assemblymember McCarty
Tanya Lieberman, Chief Consultant, Assembly Education Committee
Bryan Singh, Chief of Staff, Assemblymember Muratsuchi Staff