Skip to content

The Budget Center communications team chatted with Erik Saucedo (he/him), Senior Policy Analyst at the Budget Center, who conducts research and analysis with the goal of improving education systems so that all students have the resources and opportunities to thrive.

This Q&A series is your chance to get to know our team, their areas of expertise, and how their work at the Budget Center supports policy change in California. In this conversation, we’ll explore Erik’s recent efforts in addressing the needs and challenges within the education space.

This interview was edited by Kat Petsalis, Communications Strategist at the Budget Center.

Can you tell us about your role at the Budget Center?

I initially joined the team as a state policy fellow and later transitioned into the role of policy analyst and now senior policy analyst. While my primary focus is on K-12 education policy, I’ve expanded my scope to include a deeper emphasis on early childhood education initiatives. I research policies related to child care and preschool programs.

I also work closely with external partners as part of broader coalitions. This involves participating in meetings, responding to inquiries, and supporting their initiatives. By maintaining strong connections with these partners, we can effectively move the needle on policies that promote development and well-being across the PK-12 continuum and support our organization’s broader goals of helping California families thrive.

What inspired your passion for research and public policy?

My journey into research and public policy began during my time as a high school teacher. I was deeply passionate about teaching and learning, constantly seeking ways to enhance my skills and understanding of the needs of students. After some time, I began questioning the decision-making processes at both the school and district levels, particularly concerning resource allocation. This curiosity led me to pursue further education to be able to better support teachers and students and to ensure that all schools have the resources they need to succeed.

How has your personal journey impacted the work you’re doing?

My personal journey has shaped my perspective on the work I do in education policy. Born in Salinas, California, but raised in Mexico until the age of ten, I experienced firsthand the challenges and opportunities faced by immigrant students navigating the educational system. Despite initially struggling with language barriers upon my return to the United States, I was fortunate to attend schools with dedicated teachers and robust programs that supported my academic growth. While I am grateful for the positive experiences I had, I am acutely aware that many students face barriers to success that require systemic change and advocacy.

As I advocate for equitable education policies, I am committed to ensuring that all students, especially those from immigrant backgrounds, have the resources and support they need to thrive. It is essential that our educational system reflects the values of inclusion and opportunity, embracing the diversity that enriches our communities.

What is something exciting you have worked on or are currently working on?

One of the most exciting projects I’m involved in revolves around assessing access to preschool programs. Our efforts extend beyond simply examining program availability. We’re deeply engaged in understanding the barriers preventing certain children from participating in these programs despite their eligibility. By exploring these challenges, we aim to identify opportunities for program improvement and increased accessibility.

Specifically, our focus encompasses an in-depth analysis of the California State Preschool Program and Transitional Kindergarten initiatives. These projects hold significant promise, particularly due to their relevance to dual language learners. By investigating access for this student demographic, we seek to inform policy changes and allocate resources more effectively. Be on the lookout!

What’s one thing you can’t get through the workday without?

I’d say reading policy reports is something I do every single day. There’s just so much to go through, but I actually enjoy it because there’s always something new to learn. It’s become a routine I look forward to each week. And by the end of the day, I always find a little time to dive into a report or news article that helps shape the work I’m involved in.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I love running. When I have time on the weekends, I make it a priority to get a run in.

Media Contacts

Kyra Moeller
Communications Strategist

Stay in the know.

Join our email list!