Longtime Child Care Provider Tonia McMillian was recently named a “community commissioner” on California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s (D-Paramount) Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education. The commission’s goal is to develop solutions to improve early education for California’s youngest learners and their families.
As an early education advocate and a union leader, Tonia has been fighting to fix our state’s broken child care system for more than 10 years. In addition to her leadership here at SEIU Local 99 (learn more about that here), Tonia is Co-Chair of Raising California Together, a broad coalition of early educators, agencies, parents, clergy and other children’s advocates pushing for policy solutions to increase access to quality early care and education.
|Check out Tonia’s first meeting!
Click here to watch the entire meeting, especially the 1:39:39 mark where she notes how SEIU Local 99 fills critical training gaps for Child Care Providers!
“Speaker Rendon comes out of the early education world and has done a great job of bringing both Democrats and Republicans together on this Commission,” said Tonia. “If there was ever a time for us to come together on something we can all care about—our littlest learners—now is the time. I’m ready to continue to fight for increased access for parents to quality care that doesn’t bankrupt them—and for more access to training and better wages for those of us providing the care.”
Speaker Rendon was the Executive Director of Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services when funding was slashed during the Great Recession. Since then, both he (in his capacity as Assemblymember) and Tonia (with her countless trips to Sacramento over the years to lobby leaders, testify before hearings and lead rallies) have successfully fought to restore funding in Sacramento, including a large investment in the 2016/17 State Budget. Despite these recent investments, the early childhood education system still struggles from inadequate funding. Even worse, the funding threats coming from Washington, D.C., have led Governor Brown to propose taking back some of that recent investment.
Among other things, the commission will look for strategies to replace the outdated funding plan that has been unable to meet the demand for child care access in California. The commission will enable the Assembly to find ways to improve the state’s early learning system, and realize those improvements through policy and budget decisions.
The commission will be co-chaired by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). Also serving on the commission will be Assemblymembers Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido).
The commission will also benefit from nine community members—including our own Tonia McMillian—who will bring educational expertise, parental perspectives, and the knowledge of community agencies and frontline providers.