Assemblymember Juan Carrillo is authoring Assembly Bill (AB) 555, legislation supported by Early Edge California, that aims to increase access and expand opportunities for children in the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), particularly benefiting Dual Language Learners (DLLs).
One of the key provisions of AB 555 is to give equal priority to serving three- and four-year-olds in CSPP. This change increases access to available CSPP slots and can help providers reach more and younger children. This can be particularly beneficial to DLLs who can reap the benefits of early language immersion when CSPP programs are designed to help children develop multiple languages. This will remove barriers that programs face in servicing three-year-old children while strengthening stability and support for these vital early education programs.
The bill also proposes changes to the contract reimbursement for CSPP. The bill suggests that the contract reimbursement should be based on enrollment rather than attendance. This change could incentivize contractors to enroll more children, potentially leading to increased access to early education for all children, including DLLs.
The bill permits both part-day and full-day CSPP programs to receive reimbursement rate adjustment factors for children with exceptional needs, who are at risk of neglect, abuse, or exploitation, or who are DLLs. Presently, part-day CSPP programs do not receive adjustment factors. Further, the bill would allow programs to receive multiple adjustment factors for a child who meets more than one criteria to earn an adjustment factor (e.g., a DLL with exceptional needs), a notable departure from the current system where only one factor can be collected. This provision recognizes the additional resources required to support DLLs and could lead to improved services and outcomes for these children.
Research shows the critical importance of access to preschool programs for all children, but particularly for children of color, multilingual learners, children with disabilities, and children experiencing poverty. Additionally, it is essential to highlight how this change would bolster the implementation of AB 1363/DLL identification in CSPP programs. By allowing programs to receive adjustment factors for DLL children enrolled in part-day programs, as well as 3-year-old DLLs and DLLs with exceptional needs, the bill would offer comprehensive support to a broader range of children, ensuring their needs are adequately addressed.
The provisions in AB 555 are critical to ensuring systemic support so that children can experience the long-term benefits of access to two years of preschool.
Click here for more information about AB 555.