Closing the Last Miles of California’s Digital Divide
Internet access today is like electricity or running water. It’s very hard to live without it.
High-speed Internet access, referred to generically as “broadband” and including both wired and wireless technologies, is essential 21st-century infrastructure for economic competitiveness and quality of life. Internet access is required to apply for a job, to participate in school (checking a child’s grades or completing homework assignments), find and access health care and more. Virtually everyone has a smart phone these days, but a smart phone is no way to apply for a job or do schoolwork, and so it is no substitute for broadband serving an entire household.
Repealing the ACA would hurt millions of Californians
California has made huge strides in recent years to ensure more families and children are healthy and excel in life, particularly by increasing access to health coverage. The state has reduced the number of uninsured children from 2 million in 1999 to just over 100,000 today who are eligible but yet to be enrolled. The number of children in California with health coverage is at 97 percent, an all-time high. This is not the time to turn back the clock. If their parents lose coverage, children are at risk too.
Yet members of Congress are proposing to do just that. Policy makers in Washington intend to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a concrete plan to replace it – an ill-advised scheme that would have unprecedented consequences according to a new report from the Urban Institute.
Common Core and Workforce Development
The following commentary was published in the Silicon Valley Business Journal on Friday, February 6, 2015:
The health of California's 21st century economy depends on a skilled workforce. Yet there are too few qualified applicants to create talent pools for jobs that fuel our economic growth. Silicon Valley businesses like tech, life sciences and clean energy know this all too well. To change this dynamic, Common Core State Standards must be considered central to the workforce development equation.
Businesses across Silicon Valley should consider Common Core to be as critical and important as any of their other workforce development priorities. Local businesses should look to build partnerships with schools to help bolster students' learning experiences and enhance their understanding of how to translate their education into real-world skills.
Further connecting Common Core to Silicon Valley workforce development priorities can translate into meaningful change for students. Schools and businesses can work together to help prepare students for the future by integrating the benefits of Common Core into activities extending beyond the traditional school day.
United Ways across California have already started this work. Health and income factors greatly affect students' abilities to succeed in school, so children need the right support at every stage from cradle to career. That is why we invest in local programs including early childhood education, such as the Bridge to Kindergarten program; early grade reading like the Schools of Hope program; and workforce development and financial management, such as the SparkPoint financial coaching centers and Matchbridge youth employment program for work-based learning. Common Core expands the possibility for business leaders and schools to help expand these programs and create others.
Don’t Cut Coverage for 1 Million Children
The following commentary was published by the Fresno Bee on Friday, April 10, 2015.
With the May deadline for finalizing California’s budget looming, our state leaders need an answer from the U.S. Senate on whether it will deliver on more than a half a billion dollars in annual federal funding promised to California families for their kids’ health insurance coverage.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a critical source of coverage for low- and moderate-income working families that makes sure California’s kids get the care they need to stay healthy and succeed. This proven program has the overwhelming support of 41 Republican and Democratic governors, including California’s, but federal funding for the program is set to expire soon. The House of Representatives has already taken strong bipartisan action, but if the U.S. Senate doesn’t follow suit and renew CHIP now for four more years, California will have to figure out where to cut at least $533 million in 2016 alone — causing devastating impacts on our budget and families.
Information Wants to Find People
The following op-ed was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on June 9, 2014.
“What business are you really in?”
Economist Theodore Levitt established this question as a central consideration for any enterprise in his classic article “Marketing Myopia.” It sounds like such a simple question, but it can be very difficult to answer, and answering it well can mean the difference between thriving and dying.
As Levitt pointed out in his article, the railroads—once dominant forces in the US economy—fell into decades of decline because “they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad-oriented instead of transportation-oriented; they were product-oriented instead of customer-oriented.” In other words, focusing on their existing mode of operation gave them myopia about their business and market. They neglected opportunities to develop strongholds in trucking, telecommunications (they owned rights of way for wirelines), and other areas.