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52.6 Million for California Early Education

CALIFORNIA, USA – California wins $52.6 million federal grant to support early learning and care. Other states to receive the grant include Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.

The purpose of the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant is to help support the continued improvement of early learning programs.

Decades of research underscore the importance of high-quality early education in closing the achievement gap for low-income children. This funding will help California increas the effectiveness and efficiency of its early learning programs that serve over 400,000 low-income children.

California plans to use the federal grant money to align promising local efforts leading the way in developing a Quality Rating and Information System (QRIS) with statewide elements; coordinate and optimize current state investments in school readiness initiatives to connect early education with the early elementary years; and support development of the early childhood workforce.

State President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg declares, “Today’s news that California was awarded the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant is an important step in the long road ahead to rebuilding our education system so that it prepares our children for college and career success. In 2008, I authored legislation that laid the groundwork for this successful application by creating a plan for improving the quality of preschool and other early learning programs, giving children the early learning experiences they need to be ready for school. The grant also provides an opportunity to support schools in implementing the new and very important transitional kindergarten program.”

“This is a historic opportunity for California,” Catherine Atkin, President, Preschool California, states. “These funds are an important step in improving the quality of programs that serve our most vulnerable youngest learners.”

Lois Wolks Office Welcomes New Fellows

SACRAMENTO–Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) announced today that two participants in the Senate’s fellowship program, Megan Baier of Vacaville and Hai-Vu Phan of El Monte, have joined her staff.

Baier and Phan are two of 18 college graduates selected to participate in the California Senate Fellows program, which offers the opportunity to work as a fully-fledged member of a senate or policy committee office analyzing and staffing legislation, researching and developing public policy, and meeting with constituents.

Baier, 22, interned last year for the California Health Report researching issues including the causes for the closure of state’s breast cancer-screening program. She will work with Wolk’s Capitol staff on health and other issues.

“I’m excited to be working with my own Senate representative, and hope to learn as much as I can about the Senate and public policy this year,” said Baier, a UC Santa Cruz graduate. “I’ve seen good ideas fall flat because of poorly executed policy, and want to focus on creating stronger policies that better serve the people of this state.”

Phan will work with the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, which Wolk chairs, on issues relating to government and budget reform, local government, and taxes.

“I am very grateful to work with the committee and Senator Wolk’s office,” said Phan, a 22-year-old Yale graduate. “In the coming year, I look forward to learning about the internal workings of the Capitol and the many important issues that will come before the committee.”

“I look forward to working with Megan and Hai-Vu this year,” said Wolk. “Megan’s perspective as a resident of the 5th Senate District, coupled with her experience with health policy, will be valuable in the coming year as the Legislature works to address the many challenges facing my constituents and the people of California. Additionally, Hai-Vu’ssolid analytical skills and the ability to see things from various perspectives are two vital skills for committee work.”

Participants are full-time Senate staff members at the state Capitol for 11 months. They also participate in academic seminars with Senators, senior staff, journalists, lobbyists, and state government officials. The fellowship program is jointly operated by the California Senate and the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State.

information provided by the Office of Senator Lois Wolk

Traditional Mexican Posadas in San Joaquin


The Rondalla Presencia de Amor of Stockton formed by a male choir delighted the audience with a variety of romantic boleros.

Traditional Mexican Posadas in San Joaquin

By Mayra Barrios

Las posadas (the shelters) in Spanish are an important part of the Christmas festivities in Mexico. These celebrations are held on each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas, from December 16 to 24th.

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