Education Beat Podcast — How a library inside juvenile hall aims to break the prison pipeline — Listen Now!

News Update

Two new early education bills seek to expand kindergarten in California

Two newly introduced bills could impact the early education landscape in California if they eventually become law. Both bills seek to redefine aspects of the kindergarten experience.

Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, has introduced a bill, Assembly Bill 1973, that would require school districts to offer full-day kindergarten. Currently, some districts offer only part-day programs.

“Full-day kindergarten gives students the time they need to engage in meaningful learning and play,” McCarty said. “This can result in greater school readiness, self-confidence and student achievement compared to part-day programs.”

Under this bill, school districts would be required to offer full-day kindergarten programs to all students, starting in the 2025-26 school year. Schools would also be able to offer part-day kindergarten in addition to the full-day program.

Researchers note that part-time kindergarten is preferred by some families. Districts serving middle-class and affluent communities tend to offer part-day kindergarten, research shows, while poorer districts often offer full-day programs. 

Sen. Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino, has introduced legislation that mandates a mixed delivery approach to transitional kindergarten, or TK. Senate Bill 976 would give parents the option to send their children to a public elementary school or a community-based child care provider for TK, a stepping stone between preschool and kindergarten.

“It is critical that California offers flexibility and options for working families with children who would benefit from transitional kindergarten,” said Leyva, “but are unable to access those services because of their own work or other day-to-day responsibilities.”