Quality early care and education are critical to prepare California children for school and their lives in general. But a large percentage of children do not have access to high quality early childhood education programs. The state restored a large share of the preschool and child care slots eliminated during the recession, and has invested more in full-day programs. Early childhood advocates, parents, and providers are eagerly awaiting implementation of a series of reforms proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has made early education a central policy pillar of his administration. He has promised universal access to all low-income 4 year olds by the end of his first term, along with full-kindergarten. He is also promising major expansion of prenatal services, and services for children beginning at birth such as family home visits.
Legislation could increase teacher pay at subsidized centers serving low-income children.
California's size and diversity make universal preschool or extended paid leave a feat in some ways comparable to a national effort.
California is on the brink of making huge investments in young children, and EdSource is tracking 27 early childhood bills introduced in the Legislature this session.
Under the agreement, all 4-year-olds living in low-income neighborhoods would be eligible for state-subsidized preschool, with priority for low-income children first.
Proposals by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators would provide financial aid and ease the permitting process.
Newsom proposes funding for subsidized childcare, disabled students and a loan program for special education, math and science teachers.
Gov. Newsom adds funds for childcare vouchers, expanded preschool for low-income children, though not as quickly as planned.
Gov. Newsom proposes more K-12, community college funds; loan forgiveness for new special education, math and science teachers.
If small children aren’t accurately counted, California could potentially get less federal funding than needed for programs such as Head Start.
The report sets a long-term goal of preschool for all children, regardless of income, but focuses on expanding access first to children in low-income families.
Public Policy Institute asked about some of the most hotly debated issues in its annual Californians and Education statewide survey.
Researchers say the greatest need in low-income communities is for programs serving children under 5 years old, such as preschool and transitional kindergarten.
Newsom has expanded paid family leave from six to eight weeks as of July 1, 2020, and he plans to extend it to six months per child by 2021-22.
California was ranked 14th in access to preschool for 4-year-olds, behind Oklahoma, Vermont, Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia and South Carolina, among other states.
The trainings teach preschool teachers how to help children learn English and keep their home languages, so they can be more successful in kindergarten and beyond.