The Lamorinda Democratic Club’s next meeting on Thursday, April 14, will feature Common Sense Kids Action Co-Director and Vice President for California Policy Craig Cheslog, who will report on the release of the Right Start Commission’s blueprint for a child-centered system that nurtures every child from the beginning of life.

The Right Start Commission, a team of business, education, health and early childhood experts convened by Common Sense Kids Action, will release a report the day before our next meeting detailing gaps in California’s early childhood services, including recommendations to improve delivery and provide more resources to create a “child-centered” and streamlined system of early learning and care for children ages 0-5.

The Commission is co-chaired by former Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris of the Center for Youth Wellness. Former Congressman George Miller is one of the Commission’s members.

In California, millions of children face challenges that could put them at a disadvantage later in life. Our state has the second-worst standard of living for kids in the nation. In families with young children, a single minimum wage earner cannot afford both rent and child care—the two largest expenses for most California families.

Common Sense Kids Action convened the Right Start Commission based on the fundamental principle that every California child deserves the right start. High-quality early learning and care, supportive family environments, and preventive health care are essential to ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive in school and in life.

Craig served as the staff director of the Commission that has worked over the last several months to develop strategies to better serve California’s 9 million children, with a particular focus on the 3 million children age 0–5. This report will serve as a foundational document, reflecting the commission’s ideas and priorities for a more child-centered approach to our workplaces, our policymaking, and our civic life.

Craig joined Common Sense Kids Action (www.commonsensemedia.org/kids-action) in January 2015 as its Co-Director and Vice President for California Policy. Based in Common Sense’s San Francisco office, Craig is the co-director of the organization’s advocacy platform and is responsible for California-specific policy development and legislative campaign execution across all of Common Sense’s policy areas.

Craig previously served as the Principal Advisor to California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at the California Department of Education for four years. Before joining the California Department of Education, he served as Torlakson’s district director for his Assembly and State Senate offices for eight years. A past president of the Lamorinda Democratic Club, Craig was elected the California Democratic Party’s Region 2 Director in April 2013 and re-elected in May 2015. He is a member of the Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund’s Board of Directors. Craig also serves on the Leadership Council, and is a past chair, of CREATE CA: California’s statewide arts education coalition.