It’s time for California to take charge and lead the nation in access to universal pre-kindergarten. My bill, AB 22: Universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK) will extend universal access to full-day TK programs to all four-year-olds statewide at no cost to families. Currently, many families lack access to high-quality early education programs like TK and pre-K programs. Research shows that students who attend high-quality early learning programs are more prepared for kindergarten and beyond. This bill expands access to early learning to ensure all students are set up for success. By ensuring each child receives a high-quality TK education, this bill will set students up for success in kindergarten and beyond.
The benefits of TK are most significant for disadvantaged students: low-income children and English-language learners show the greatest learning improvements at the end of TK. These findings demonstrate that high-quality TK can be a powerful tool for narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps and setting all of California’s students on a path to success.
Read on to learn more about why you should join me, my colleagues, and leading educational partners in supporting this next step in equitable early childhood education.
What is TK?
Transitional kindergarten is part of the California K-12 public school system. It is free for all families. All transitional kindergarten teachers must meet the credential requirements to teach regular kindergarten. Transitional kindergarten classes are designed to prepare children for kindergarten and often use a combination of standards to bridge the California Department of Education’s Preschool Learning foundations and the Common Core Standards for kindergarten. The programs are designed to teach social and emotional skills, such as self-confidence and cooperation, and early academic skills, such as numbers and letters.
Why isn’t transitional kindergarten currently open to all 4-year-olds, regardless of their birthdate?
This is a quirk of the current program that only 4-year-olds with birthdates between September 2 and December 2 are eligible. AB 22 has been introduced in the Legislature to make all 4-year-olds eligible for TK.
How many four-year-olds will be impacted by this new law?
Approximately 266,000 additional four-year-olds would be served when universal TK is fully implemented.
If a family cannot pick up a four-year-old at the end of the school day, will afterschool services be provided? What about services in the summer?
Yes. Eligible four-year-olds will have access to state-subsidized extended-day and full-year services if needed.
Will parents be able to choose to keep their four-year-old in a preschool or Head Start program?
Yes. Parents can choose the early learning and care option that best meets their needs and helps prepare their children for kindergarten. Income-eligible parents with four-year-olds can continue to enroll in state preschool or Head Start programs.
Early Edge CA (co-sponsor)
San Diego Unified School District (co-sponsor)