Newsom Touts ‘California Family Agenda,’ Addresses Local Districts’ Transgender Student Policy

Newsom Touts ‘California Family Agenda,’ Addresses Local Districts’ Transgender Student Policy
California Gov. Gavin Newsom highlighted his agenda for the state's families at a press conference in Sacramento County, Calif., on Aug. 14, 2023. (California Governor Gavin Newsom via YouTube/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Micaela Ricaforte

Gov. Gavin Newsom highlighted his agenda for California families—which he said includes educational and parental choice freedom—at an Aug. 14 press conference, where he also addressed the recent parent notification policies passed by two local school boards.

Mr. Newsom spoke along with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom, saying the state’s family agenda seeks to empower parental involvement and enrich academic opportunities for students.

“There is no state in America that supports local control and parental engagement like the state of California,” Mr. Newsom said during the conference. “No one comes close.”

Newsom said the state is working to “transform” education through improving campus safety, education quality, healthy meals, and mental health care as well as “having freedom to learn without political censorship.”

He also highlighted the state’s recent public education investments—including $4.1 in community schools, the implementation of universal kindergarten by 2025, the expansion of before- and after-school programs and universal free meals for all students.

The governor and his wife also used the press conference to denounce education laws passed in other states—such as Florida’s attempts to crack down on critical race theory.

“While states across our country attack academic freedom, California is leading on parental choice and participation, creating a place where every student has a chance to thrive and every family has access to an education system that fosters opportunity,” he said.

Ms. Siebel Newsom called such laws “politically motivated” and touted California’s agenda.

“At a time when other states are limiting children’s ability to reach their full potential through politically motivated book bans, racist and reductive history curriculums, and the closing of school libraries, we are focusing on the needs of the whole child and family,” she said. “California’s family agenda ensures kids have the opportunity and environment in which to thrive, learn, and succeed.”

At a question-and-answer session with reporters following the press conference, Newsom addressed reporters’ questions about the recent parent notification policies passed by the Chino Valley Unified and Murrieta Unified school districts. Orange Unified will also consider enacting its own at an upcoming board meeting Aug. 17.

The policies require schools to notify parents in writing within three days if their child identifies as transgender, is involved in violence, or shares thoughts of suicide.

Mr. Newsom hinted that there may be a legislative bill in the works to address such policies.

“We’re working with legislative leaders,” he said, adding that he would be meeting with several lawmakers and the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus to discuss such this week.

“They’ve got some language we’re working on ... it’s a work-in-progress,” Mr. Newsom said. “I have a position more broadly, but we’re defining the terms of our response and engagement, and I want to flesh that out ... before I [share] more specifically.”

The governor’s office was not immediately available for comment on the potential new legislation.