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New commission to focus on California's early education services

Noah (center) plays in a model city at University Village.
Grant Slater/KPCC
File photo: Advocates are creating a new commission that will help draft a roadmap to guide efforts to upgrade California's early education services.

A coalition of policymakers, business and community leaders launched a new effort Thursday to “modernize” the state's early childhood services.

Calling itself the “Right Start Commission,” the group will collaborate on drawing up a series of recommendations to improve the state's ability to serve its youngest residents.

Retired California State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is among the high-profile members of the commission. Last year under Steniberg's leadership, early child care and education received more funding than it had in years.

Yet child care programs are still reeling from deep cuts during the recession and preschool programs such as run by the Los Angeles Unified School District are threatened with budget cuts.

The new commission says it will examine the roles of both the public and private sectors in rebuilding critical social services and early education opportunities.

The commission will then make a series of recommendations that the nonpartisan group Common Sense Kids Action will develop into a public policy “roadmap” it hopes lawmakers will follow.

According to the group's press release, the commission will include prominent advocates for early childhood development from across the state, including:

• Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff
• Policylink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell
• Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond
• Institute of InterGroup Understanding Chair and CEO George Halvorson
• Center for Youth Wellness Founder and CEO Nadine Burke Harris
• Apple Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson
• Retired Congressman George Miller
• Heising-Simons Foundation President Elizabeth Simons
• Retired California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
• Common Sense Media Founder and CEO Jim Steyer