(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Continuing a career of advocating for our youngest learners, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), introduced the Pre-K for All Legislative Package. The package, includes three pieces of legislation, each designed to make high-quality preschool programs universally accessible for 3 and 4-year-old children across California.
Overwhelming research shows that early brain development in young children is pivotal, not only to their success in school, but to their overall well-being and prospects in life. Unfortunately, too many California children enter kindergarten unprepared for school and never catch up.
The Pre-K for All Legislative Package would build upon the existing California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and proposes to: 1) implement targeted universal preschool, 2) create new preschool facilities, and 3) address reimbursement rate reform across early childhood education (ECE) programs.
AB 123: Pre-K for All: Targeted Universal Access
Currently, the state budget provides nearly $1.2 billion annually for free early education to approximately 175,000 low-income and middle class families, but there are still thousands of needy 3 and 4-year-olds who don’t have access to preschool. AB 123 will expand on the existing California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and:
- Offer Targeted Universal Pre-K for 4-year-olds that reside in school attendance areas where 70% of children enroll in free and reduced-priced lunch programs.
- Offer an additional year of preschool for 3-year old children living in poverty.
- Improve quality standards with evidenced-based, developmentally appropriate curriculum that is aligned to K-12 standards.
AB 124: Preschool Facilities
The existing preschool facilities need, coupled with the additional slots from the Pre-K for All Act, compels the state to plan for and build new preschool classrooms. AB 124, the Preschool Facilities Bond, would:
- Place a $500 million bond on the 2020 ballot for acquisition, construction, or retrofit of surplus classrooms.
- Provide funds to local educational agencies and community benefit organizations that hold CSPP contracts.
AB 125: Reimbursement Rate Reform
California’s childcare and preschool reimbursement rate system is difficult to understand and underfunded to the point that providers cannot reasonably deliver quality early learning services. AB 125, Reimbursement Rate Reform, will:
- Simplify reimbursement rates by managing the mixed-delivery system as a single, regionalized rate system for all early learning services.
- Increase rates to competitively compensate teachers and providers based on quality standards.
- Incentivize quality by providing financial incentives for ongoing professional development and rewarding higher quality standards of care.
A report released in September, “Getting Down to Facts II” summarized the issue, “California’s children are behind before they enter Kindergarten. The system needs a continued focus on closing achievement gaps through multiple approaches including enhanced early childhood education.”
“Preschool is a proven difference maker—breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty, addressing our education achievement gap and keeping kids out of our juvenile justice system” said Assemblymember McCarty. “If red states like Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma can offer Universal Preschool and Pre-K for All, California can join in the effort”.
The Pre-K for All Legislative Package would ensure that the thousands of 3 and 4-year olds that miss out on preschool have access to a quality education.
The Pre-K for All Legislative Package is jointly authored by Assemblymembers Autumn Burke, Marc Berman, Rob Bonta, Wendy Carrillo, David Chiu, Laura Friedman, Eduardo Garcia, Lorena Gonzalez, Monique Limón, Eloise Gómez Reyes, Miguel Santiago, Buffy Wicks, Phil Ting and Senators Bill Dodd, and Jerry Hill. It is sponsored by California Federation of Teachers, Early Edge California, Kidango, Advancement Project, and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
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