RECAP: Governor Newsom’s First Day in DC Highlights California’s Education Transformation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – California was on the national stage Wednesday as Governor Gavin Newsom met with national leaders in Washington, D.C. and accepted an award for California’s transformative improvements to education.

The Governor started his day meeting with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House. The Governor discussed how California can support the Biden Administration’s ambitious agenda. The two also discussed all things education ahead of the Governor accepting an award for California’s transformative work in the education space.

  • Why it matters: A classroom teacher for over 30 years and a community college educator, the First Lady leads the national conversation on crucial education reforms like universal pre-school, increased broadband access, free community college and more affordable higher education options – all things California has pioneered.

The Governor’s next stop was accepting the nation’s preeminent award for education policy, the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation from the Education Commission of the States, in recognition of California’s transformative improvements in our schools. Watch his full remarks here.

  • “Education is under assault in the United States of America”: Speaking to a room full of the nation’s top educators, Governor Newsom spoke to the urgency of defending schools from Republican attacks.
    • “I do believe education is under assault in ways that I’ve never experienced in my lifetime,” Governor Newsom said. “But what’s happening now – banning books, suppressing speech, the othering of our students, teachers, parents – it’s alarming. And so I came here not just to acknowledge and be recognized as a state that’s committed to righting wrongs and advancing the cause of reform and innovation but I’d be remiss if I didn’t speak more deeply to the moment that I think we’re living in as it relates to the assault on our freedom.”
  • Governor Newsom contrasted that with California’s vision for education. California is enhancing mental health supports, clearing pathways to college and careers, and ensuring that every child has access to free, nutritious meals. This year, we reached the highest level of per-pupil spending in California history and is on track to achieving universal pre-school and universal after school programs.

The second part of Governor Newsom’s day included a slate of meetings with federal officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House.

  • Meeting with Nani Coloretti, Deputy Director at OMB, along with California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, the Governor discussed California’s ambitious health care priorities.
  • At HUD, the conversation turned to housing. With Secretary Marcia Fudge and her key senior staff, the Governor talked about how the Biden Administration can partner with California on solutions to homelessness. This includes additional requests for resources, but also an offer to share California’s successes like Encampment Resolution Grants and Homekey with the rest of the nation.
  • The Governor wrapped his day where he started it: the White House. In a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, the Governor offered his unwavering support of President Biden’s agenda and discussed how California can provide a model for the rest of the nation of progressive governance.