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Linked Learning Alliance Responds to Governor Newsom's 2021-2022 January Budget

January 8, 2021 | Linked Learning Alliance

In response to Governor Newsom’s 2021-2022 January Budget, the Linked Learning Alliance issued the following statement:

The Linked Learning Alliance, a coalition of educators, employers, and community organizations dedicated to success for all young people, applauds Governor Newsom for proposing a budget that continues to invest in youth despite economic uncertainty amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The proposed budget is an important step in the right direction for California students. It prioritizes the social-emotional needs of students at this time and recognizes the importance of breaking down silos between higher education and workforce systems that often create barriers for young people on the path through college and career. But what high school students learn and how they learn it has critical implications for their postsecondary experiences, for equity, and for the future we all share.

Research from over a decade of Linked Learning confirms that participating in rigorous academic and career technical curricula, developing skills, connections and motivations to succeed in the workplace, gaining exposure to college-level coursework, and receiving aligned K-12 to higher education community-based supports (e.g., integrated advising and counseling services) are vital to a young person’s capacity to navigate transitions to college and career. We hope that this budget will catalyze dialogue and collaboration between K-12 and postsecondary systems to ensure the high school and college years are as coherent and supportive as possible.

“These crucial investments in our state’s education programs represent a solid investment in California’s future through our greatest collective resource—our young people,” said Anne Stanton, president and CEO of the Linked Learning Alliance. “If we are going to ensure we are developing and supporting a skilled and talented workforce that meets our economy’s new demands, we must connect the dots between systems to plot a course towards real opportunity for all youth. There is no better time to act together, build on what works, and create a clear path from learning to lifelong success—for each and every young person.”

We applaud the following proposed investments, which are critical for ensuring all students graduate college and career ready and are prepared to transition successfully to postsecondary, especially in this time of significant educational disruption.

Increasing collaboration between K-12 and postsecondary systems to accelerate student momentum

  • $15 million ($3 million of which is one-time) in a robust state longitudinal data system that can help families, educators and communities understand individual student progress over time as they transition through educational segments, from prekindergarten through 12th grade, to postsecondary education, and onto the workforce.
  • An increase of $2.5 million in one-time Proposition 98 General Fund dollars for community colleges to provide instructional materials for dual enrollment students, a key strategy embraced by Linked Learning districts to ensure students have access to accelerated college opportunities that keep them on the path to their postsecondary goals.

Designing and expanding student supports that help young people navigate the barriers that all too often derail their progress

  • An additional $264.9 million of one-time Proposition 98 General Fund dollars for community schools, which share many of the same features as Linked Learning, including integrated supports and services addressing students’ academic, personal, and social-emotional needs; engagement of families and communities in student learning and outcomes; and collaborative leadership and practices.
  • $4.6 billion in one-time Proposition 98 General Fund to address learning loss due to the pandemic, giving districts an opportunity to design targeted interventions as part of an integrated support structure to ensure students receive the services they need to be successful.
  • $25 million in ongoing Proposition 98 General Fund for partnerships with county behavioral health departments to support student mental health services. And, $10 million in one-time proposition 98 General Fund dollars for school climate surveys, including to help Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to “...better assess community needs stemming from the COVID-19 Pandemic and distance learning.” These and other supports in the budget could help to address challenges of waning student motivation and engagement, issues that Linked Learning students expressed concerns about through a recent survey.

Equipping a diverse pipeline of educators to prepare students for college and the workforce of tomorrow

  • $225 million in one-time funds to improve the state’s teacher pipeline, which can ensure young people thrive with well-prepared and supportive educators dedicated to their growth.
  • $315.3 million in one-time funds for educator professional development, with a focus on quality training in high-need areas, so teachers get the support they need to help students achieve their aspirations for both college and career.

As COVID-19 continues to impact our state’s young people, we applaud the Governor’s continued vision for alleviating the impacts of the crisis through sound investments in education that engage students in learning and provide the community-based support they need to achieve their postsecondary aspirations. This time is now. We can and must keep young people linked to learning, community, to local businesses, college and career—and linked to a better future for California.


The Linked Learning Alliance is the engine that drives a movement to help every young person determine their own future through a proven approach to education called Linked Learning. Linked Learning integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning and strong support services to prepare students for success in college, career, and life. The Alliance helps create public will for equity and excellence in education, elevate the practice of Linked Learning across America, and advance policies that serve and support all youth.