Early Edge California Encourages Support for Package of Bills to Improve Access to and Quality of Critical Early Childhood Services for Children and Families
Sacramento, CA – Early Edge California, a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization dedicated to improving access to high-quality Early Learning experiences for all California children is encouraging support for a package of measures calling for such. The sponsored legislative proposals include efforts to achieve Universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to ensure that all children can thrive, and the establishment of a new Department of Early Childhood Development to streamline access to critical early childhood programs for families across California.
AB 2500 (McCarty, Ting & Reyes) complements and builds upon the existing TK law and our California State Preschool Program – which currently serves over 170,000 low-income three- and four-year olds – to provide universal access to early learning by offering TK for all four-year-olds. This change would allow more low-income three-year-olds to receive two years of quality early learning to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond. AB 2500 provides the opportunity to work side by side with California’s legislature and the administration’s master plan team to make Universal Transitional Kindergarten a reality for all children.
“Early Edge California is excited about the prospect of achieving universal preschool in California. We know that high-quality preschool benefits every child, but is especially beneficial for low-income, minority children. AB 2500 creates a promising path to closing opportunity and achievement gaps for students by delivering much-needed resources at the beginning of their educational careers. We commend Assembly Members McCarty, Ting and Reyes and State Senators Rubio, Gonzalez, and Dodd for taking this bold step to advance the goal of Preschool for All— a vision we know Governor Newsom shares,” said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director, Early Edge California.
“We know that quality early education matters for our youngest learners and for our economic future,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), joint-author of AB 2500. “Expanding universal Transitional Kindergarten moves the state toward providing all families with important early learning and will help us tackle some of the stubborn issues we’re working on today, such as intergenerational poverty, the education achievement and opportunity gap, and cracking the school-to-prison pipeline.”
“It’s not fair that only a quarter of California’s four-year-olds receive an extra year of public education. We need to ensure all kids get a great start in life, and Universal Transitional Kindergarten will lay a strong foundation for them to succeed in the classroom for years to come,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), joint-author of AB 2500.
“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing AB 2500, which will dramatically change the level of access children and families have to transitional kindergarten. When we increase access to high quality early learning and care programs, like transitional kindergarten, we uplift California’s children and families both in the short and long term. This is the first major step of many to build a system of universal access to California’s growing early learning and care programs, a primary goal of the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission Final Report. I look forward to continuing the fight for our children and families to have the best access to quality education and care,” said Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), joint-author of AB 2500.
AB 2581 (Reyes) establishes under the umbrella of the California Health and Human Services Agency, a new Department of Early Childhood Development (DECD). This new department would centralize the state’s administration and leadership of early child development policies and programs. It will further centralize and build a coherent and whole child early learning and care system to improve the service delivery for children, families, and providers by maximizing federal, state, and local resources. AB 2581 also creates an interagency working group that will build on the work of the 2019 California Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education’s Final Report, the strategic plan for the Preschool Development Grant, and the state’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care to continue to expand and enhance California’s service delivery, and overall alignment across other departments and agencies.
“Early Edge California is pleased to sponsor AB 2581 to advance the Governor’s goal of improving access to quality early learning and care programs for California families and children. By establishing a multi-agency work group to begin integrating critical programs that serve the whole child and the whole family, AB 2581 will ensure that families, children, and providers do not go without the support they need. We are especially pleased that the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education report is informing the best path forward. We can’t go wrong when we focus on what’s best for children and their families while supporting the professionals who serve them,” said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director of Early Edge California.
“The current nature of California’s early childhood education requires a variety of state departments, a mixed methods delivery system, and the inclusion of a diverse array of stakeholders with varied needs,” said Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino). “With a strong, centralized governance structure for all early learning and care programs, California can begin to more effectively and efficiently support children, families, and providers in our early learning and care programs. AB 2581 creates the Department of Early Childhood Development to house all early learning and care programs, which help support the healthy development of California’s children, supports their families in the process, and uplift the providers who care for them. This new Department will be the driving mechanism of enhancing access and equity for all of California’s children, families, and providers.”
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.