Leg­is­la­tors an­nounce uni­ver­sal Tran­si­tional Kinder­garten bill

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - LOCAL NEWS - Times-Her­ald staff re­port

SACRA­MENTO >> A slate of leg­is­la­tors, in­clud­ing State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, in­tro­duced a bill this week to ex­pand ac­cess to tran­si­tional kinder­garten (TK) for all four-year-olds through­out the state, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from Assem­bly­mem­ber Kevin McCarty’s of­fice.

The slate also in­cludes Assem­bly­mem­bers Phil Ting, and Eloise Gómez Reyes and State Sen­a­tor Su­san Ru­bio.

Cur­rently, only 25 per­cent of four-year-olds are able to en­roll in TK be­cause they were born in the fall. This means that the ma­jor­ity of four-year-olds are miss­ing out on qual­ity early learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that will pro­vide them with greater aca­demic pre­pared­ness.

As­sem­bly Bill 2500 com­pli­ments and builds upon the ex­ist­ing TK law and the Cal­i­for­nia State Preschool Pro­gram — which cur­rently serves over 170,000 low-in­come three- and four-year olds — to phase in full-day, uni­ver­sal early learn­ing by pro­vid­ing an ad­di­tional year of tran­si­tional kinder­garten for all four-year-olds, of­fi­cials said. With these two pro­grams in place, low-in­come three-year-olds will re­ceive two years of qual­ity early learn­ing to pre­pare them for kinder­garten and be­yond.

“There’s no in­vest­ment more im­por­tant than ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren. We know that high-qual­ity early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion has life­long ben­e­fits. That’s why I’m happy to part­ner on this bill to ex­pand ac­cess to tran­si­tional kinder­garten,” said Dodd, co-au­thor of AB 2500, in a state­ment re­leased by McCarty’s of­fice.

A large body of re­search con­firms that high-qual­ity early learn­ing can sub­stan­tially im­prove chil­dren’s suc­cess in K-12 school. Re­search fur­ther shows that Cal­i­for­nia TK has re­duced the need for high-cost in­ter­ven­tions such as spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion and grade re­ten­tion later in life.

“We know that qual­ity early ed­u­ca­tion mat­ters for our youngest learn­ers and for our eco­nomic fu­ture,” said McCarty, D-Sacra­mento, in the same re­lease. “Ex­pand­ing uni­ver­sal Tran­si­tional Kinder­garten moves the state to­ward pro­vid­ing all fam­i­lies with im­por­tant early learn­ing and will help us tackle some of the stub­born is­sues we’re work­ing on to­day, such as in­ter­gen­er­a­tional poverty, the ed­u­ca­tion achieve­ment and op­por­tu­nity gap, and crack­ing the school-toprison pipeline.”

Dodd rep­re­sents Cal­i­for­nia’s 3rd State Se­nate dis­trict, which in­cludes the cities of Vallejo, Beni­cia, Fairfield, Napa, Dixon, Davis, Amer­i­can Canyon, Rio Vista, and Vacaville, among oth­ers.

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