Transitional kindergarten is a publicly funded pre-kindergarten year for California students who turn 5 in the first few months of the school year. Elementary schools are required to offer transitional kindergarten to all eligible students.
Experts say making a year of pre-kindergarten available to all 4-year-olds is a watershed achievement in the early education space.
This is much work still to be done to ensure the pre-K entitlement will narrow, rather than reinforce, gaps in children’s early learning.
College savings accounts, universal transitional kindergarten, new community schools, teacher recruitment incentives are a signature away.
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.
With a continuing surge in revenue, the governor would expand community schools and create a $500 college savings account for every low-income first grader.
Causes for the slide in enrollment are myriad, complicated by existing trends including declining birthrates and people's continued exodus from the state, as well as the sudden economic chaos wrought by the pandemic.
The report arrives just as momentum builds to expand access to both transitional kindergarten and state-funded preschool.
Los Angeles Unified, the state's largest district, reopened for in-person learning amid ongoing lawsuits from parents pushing for a full reopening.
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.
Gov. Gavin Newsom made early childhood education a central focus of his administration.
Some parents are also opting for preschool because a more familiar environment offers comfort during the pandemic.
Preschool students facing a learning loss because Covid-19 closed their nursery school and child care programs are getting help from parents and teachers trying to keep them learning.
The early childhood workforce is one area where some experts believe Newsom and the Legislature have fallen short.
Researchers say the greatest need in low-income communities is for programs serving children under 5 years old, such as preschool and transitional kindergarten.