California Receives Frank Newman Award for Public School Innovation

The state of California has been awarded the 2022 Frank Newman Award for State Innovation from the Education Commission of the States (ECS). This is one of three awards ECS bestows each year to honor achievements in public education. 

The award was announced Wednesday, June 22. It will be presented to state leaders at the 2022 National Forum on Education Policy on July 13-15 in Washington, D.C.

In its announcement, ECS said the following:

California educates nearly one-eighth of all public school students in the nation, and its major initiatives have been focused on recognition of, and support for, the unique needs of students today. The state’s Local Control Funding Formula, recognized as one of the nation’s most equitable formulas, distributes funding to the schools with the greatest needs and gives more flexibility to districts to respond to local challenges and opportunities. In the last two years, the state has approved an ongoing increase to the school funding formula to add more teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals and other student support providers on campuses. The budget also includes a large investment to scale summer, before- and after-school programming; and to convert thousands of schools into full-service community schools with wraparound supports. Additionally, beginning this school year, all public school students began to receive two free meals per day, regardless of family income status.

The state’s investments are not limited to K-12; they extend into both ends of the education continuum, early learning and postsecondary. For example, the state is on track to have universal pre-K available for all 4-year-olds by 2025, and it has already expanded its popular Cal Grant scholarship program, which benefited an additional 100,000 community college students last year. Leaders also allocated funding to construct affordable student housing and $115 million to expand zero-cost textbooks and open-educational resources.

California is demonstrating an intentional, comprehensive investment of funding and other resources that recognize and honor whole-child approaches to education, not only instruction.

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