Tony’s Plan For CA Schools

Providing the resources to Help California Students HEAL

Students have been through incredible trauma during the pandemic, and we have to create a way to ensure that they can heal from that trauma. Even before the pandemic, California did not have enough mental health professionals to meet the needs of Californians. The pandemic has exacerbated that need. Tony is pursuing a first-of-its-kind strategy in the nation that would help to identify and train 10,000 new mental health professionals.

Tony has secured $20,000 scholarships for those who pursue degrees in counseling fields and commit to working for at least two years in schools of high need. Especially in rural communities that have seen shortages in counselors even before the pandemic. Tony is also leading a training program that can help schools secure millions in federal Medicaid dollars that schools can use now to support the mental needs of students.

Help students RECOVER from learning loss and gaps

Student learning gaps have been expanded during the pandemic. Tony is leading efforts to help close those gaps. This includes a number of strategies including: 

  • Expanding after school tutoring and enrichment programs for students
  • Leading professional development for educators that are focused on closing the opportunity gap and addressing implicit bias in schools

To further dismantle the destructive school-to-prison pipeline, Tony is leading a bold effort to ensure that all California elementary students learn to read by the third grade by the year 2026. That means that every student who enters Kindergarten in the 2022-23 School year should be able to read by the time they reach third grade in 2026. Tony has secured or is working to secure resources to help reach this goal, including:

  • Getting $250M in funding from the state budget to provide reading coaches and specialists to schools that need to improve literacy goals.

  • Expanding funding for literacy intervention strategies such as the Freedom Schools model, which has been proven to improve reading proficiency levels for students of color and low-income students

  • *Establishing family-based literacy programs to provide training and resources to parents and families who are supporting struggling readers
  • Working to provide 1 million books to students and families in need (several books have already been donated, including 5 million online books in English, Spanish, and French that have been downloaded for free to California students

Ensuring California Students THRIVE

Tony is leading efforts to help students overcome the pandemic and to build skills to help them thrive and prepare them for a bright future. These efforts include: 

  • Providing students with the opportunity to learn a second language
  • Helping students in career pathway programs to secure paid internships
  • Expanding opportunities for more students to learn computer science, STEAM education, civics, and environmental literacy

Transforming California Schools

Tony is also leading the implementation of several programs that will be game-changers in transforming California Schools: These include providing:

  • free universal preschool programs for every four-year-old in the state,
  • universal meals for every hungry student,
  • and billions in wraparound supports (Community Schools) to help meet students' physical, mental health, and social service needs.