The bill ensures low-income 3- and 4-year-olds have access to full-day preschool,
providing them with a strong start in school and life
The majority of Californians are in favor of state investment
to expand Pre-K to all eligible low-income preschoolers
SACRAMENTO, CA—Early Edge California and Kidango, co-sponsors of Assembly Bill 123 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), applaud the California State Assembly for their support of this bill which would transform opportunities for our youngest Californians in low-income families. Currently, 30% of low-income 4-year-olds and 66% of low-income 3-year-olds in California lack access to a licensed preschool. AB 123 addresses this need by expanding access to full-day preschool to all 4-year-olds living in low-income neighborhoods and all 3-year-olds living in poverty.
AB 123 also raises preschool quality by increasing teacher compensation and qualifications to help close the school readiness gap and provides scholarships so preschool teachers can obtain higher education. This bill requires lead preschool teachers to earn a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis or major in child development by July 1, 2028. Existing lead teachers who have a Child Development Teacher Permit will be grandfathered in and will not be subject to additional educational requirements.
“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. “Unfortunately we have too many kids who start Kindergarten behind and never catch up, and that’s because too many 3- and 4-year-olds never have the chance to attend preschool.”
“With Governor Newsom’s strong Parents Agenda, resounding support for Early Learning from the Assembly, and Assemblymember McCarty’s leadership, the time is now for us to create policies that invest in and prioritize our youngest kids. Opportunity starts in the early years and every child deserves access to a high-quality preschool program that will put them on a path for success in Kindergarten and in life,” said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director of Early Edge California.
Research shows that 85% of a child’s brain develops before the age of five. We also know that when we invest in kids living in poverty in the early years, it benefits them not only for the rest of their life, but also has positive lasting impacts on their family for the next generation. And, in California, 78% of Californians and 88% of public school parents said that attending preschool is important for a student’s academic success in Kindergarten through grade 12.
“This is a huge step in the right direction. We strongly urge our partners in the State Senate to embrace the promise of high-quality preschool to ensure our low-income children have the opportunity to thrive in school and life. Expanding access to full-day preschool is critical to addressing the challenges that working parents face in obtaining quality, affordable child care for their preschool-aged children,” said Scott Moore, Chief Executive Officer of Kidango.
Early Edge California is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to improving access to high quality Early Learning experiences for all California children so they can have a strong foundation for future success.
Kidango is an early learning nonprofit committed to setting every child on a path to thrive in Kindergarten and in life. As the largest child care provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, we provide thousands of children, especially those from low-income families, with safe, healthy, nurturing environments and relationships. Our goal is to make sure all children have the social, emotional, and academic skills they need to learn, grow and realize their potential.