Universal transitional kindergarten will essentially become California’s version of a universal preschool program, available to all 4-year-olds regardless of income.
Parent advocates: Early-education programs such as transitional kindergarten can shrink the California achievement gap.
A California TK proposal would gradually open the program to all 4-year-olds amid evidence that early learning shapes the adult brain.
In the wake of the pandemic, child care providers have emerged as the backbone of the state’s economic recovery.
Expanding TK captures the spirit of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care and aligns with Biden’s campaign for universal preschool.
The report arrives just as momentum builds to expand access to both transitional kindergarten and state-funded preschool.
California, with almost 3 million children under age 5, stands to receive about $3.8 billion in federal relief.
Without kindergarten to help build critical skills in reading and math, some students may fall behind.
More than a third of parents surveyed said they have skipped meals or had to cut back on food for the children as a result of the pandemic.
Preschool teachers and child care workers earn 38% less than their colleagues in the K-8 system, the report says.
Among other measures, $25 billion is intended to stabilize the child care industry.
Young children remain a focus in the budget, despite the economic chaos wrought by the pandemic.
The recommendations include increasing the size of payouts and duration of leave, as well as support for small businesses.
Early education is enhanced by school communities that affirm and support the languages and cultures students bring to the classroom.
The early childhood workforce is one area where some experts believe Newsom and the Legislature have fallen short.