Assemblymember McCarty, Law Enforcement, Teachers, and Parent Leaders Rally for Preschool

Thursday, October 1, 2015

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and supporters led a rally at the Natomas School Readiness Program in support of AB 47—The Preschool for All Act of 2015.  During the rally, a preschooler named Sienna signed a petition on behalf of California children to Governor Brown.  The bill has garnered strong support among over 40 education, health, parent, civic, law enforcement, business, faith, local leaders, and military organizations.  AB 47 is currently on the Governor’s Desk for his consideration.

“California has the opportunity to provide each of our low-income children access to quality preschool,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty.  “We hope the Governor shares this same vision and we’re here to urge Governor Brown to sign AB 47 into law.”

“AB 47 is not only beneficial for kids and families—it’s a crucial step to ensure the successful future of California,” said Deborah Kong, president of Early Edge California, a sponsor of AB 47.  “When every child has the opportunity of quality preschool, California will see decreased crime, grade retention, special education placements, and increased high school graduation rates, college attendance, and students graduating with skills necessary in the 21st century workforce.  That’s why we see such a broad coalition of supporters for AB 47. We now look to Governor Brown to sign the bill into law.”

“As a preschool teacher for more than 2 decades, I have seen the importance of quality early childhood education and the benefits it provides for many of my young students,” said Becky Chávez, niece of César Chávez and preschool teacher.  “I believe that our children should be the state's top priority and the Governor can accomplish that by signing AB 47, the Preschool for All Act. Sí, se puede!”

“Despite recent state progress, too many children in Sacramento, and across California, still do not have access to quality preschool opportunities,” said Dave Gordon, Superintendent of Sacramento County Office of Education. “One of the most effective ways we can set these kids up for success is by making sure they are ready to learn on day 1.  AB 47 will help ensure each and every one of those children succeeds in school and beyond.”

“Our children’s first five years set the pace for their entire lives and there shouldn’t be a single child in California who doesn’t have access to a quality early education during that crucial time,” said MomsRising Executive Director and CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “That is why thousands of MomsRising members in California signed on to our letter urging Governor Brown to sign AB 47 into law, because they know how important increasing access to free preschool for low-income 4-year-olds across the state is to our children, working families, and economy.”
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“The steps we take today to address poverty will have a lasting impact on public safety in the long run,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “Time and time again, preschool has been shown to boost graduation rates and deter youth from crime.”

“I am a grandmother and a lifelong educator, and thanks to my over 40 years of experience in the classroom and around young learners, I am also a lifelong advocate for early learning,” said Betty Robinson-Harris, Chair of the California Federation of Teachers’ Early Childhood Education Committee. “In my first year teaching, I saw how the children gravitated towards learning and how they grew and were nurtured by the relationships they made in the classroom. Since then, I’ve been hooked and I have never looked back.”

AB 47 ensures all eligible 4-year-old children who aren’t enrolled in transitional kindergarten shall have access to the California State Preschool Program by June 30, 2018, contingent upon funding in the state budget.  Despite the recent budget investment that will provide 9,500 more children with access, there is a continuing need for tens of thousands of additional preschool spaces.  Earlier this month, the Legislature passed AB 47 with strong bi-partisan support in both houses.  The Governor has until October 11 to sign or veto the bill.