Gavin Newsom’s Inauguration Speech Ties Education Goals to the ‘California Dream’

Gavin Newsom was sworn in Monday as California's 40th governor at a ceremony in Sacramento. His inaugural address immediately drew attention for its strong rebuke of President Donald Trump and some entertaining interruptions from his two-year-old son Dutch. But the speech also included a reiteration of some lofty education promises he had made throughout his gubernatorial campaign.

The theme of Newsom’s speech was the California Dream and he seemed to have no trouble tying education into that refrain. While Newsom said remarkable progress had been made under his predecessor Jerry Brown, he also acknowledged there is much work to be done. He lamented “an achievement gap in our schools and a readiness gap that holds back millions of our kids” and called once again for the expansion of academic opportunities from the earliest age statewide.

“Every child should have a great school and a teacher who is supported and respected. Every young person should be able to go to college without crushing debt or to get the training they need to compete and succeed,” the governor said.

You can read the transcript of his prepared remarks here

What Newsom’s speech lacked were any specifics on how he plans to accomplish his agenda. Those will come later this week when he lays out his first budget proposal. He is expected to call for roughly $2 billion in child care and early learning programs as part of that pitch.

Governor Newsom will have his work cut out for him in the weeks, months, and years ahead. Schools across the state are struggling. The state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, is most likely headed for a strike Thursday and facing a possible takeover. Oakland Unified could soon follow. California is in need of more education funding (per-pupil spending in California still ranks below the national average), even as Newsom is under pressure to maintain the fiscal restraint shown by his predecessor. The governor will also face tough decisions in the ongoing debate over transparency and accountability in the state’s charter schools.

Sit tight. Now the real work begins.

Image Credit: