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Recent early education news and updates

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Bill Dodd floats universal pre-school bill for CA


January 10, 2018
Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
The Reporter

A bill designed to provide preschool to all 4-year-olds statewide was introduced by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), his office announced.

“Adopting universal preschool is an investment in our future that will pay dividends for years to come,” Dodd said in a statement. “As a father and a grandfather, I know that there is no more precious resource than our young people. We need to step up our investment in the next generation. Universal preschool is absolutely essential for economic vitality and social mobility.”

Some 170,000 California children who are eligible for publicly funded preschool are not enrolled because there are not enough spots available, Dodd’s office staff said. Research shows that a high-quality one-year universal preschool program in California would generate between $2 and $4 in benefits for every dollar invested, they said.

“Common Sense Kids Action is pleased to hear that Sen. Dodd is introducing a bill to address the need to expand T-K in California,” said Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving media and technology choices for kids and families. “Access to high quality preschool has powerful effects on children’s educational outcomes and is critical for a thriving California moving forward. Common Sense values our continued partnership with Sen. Dodd on legislation such as SB 135, to foster news literacy and digital citizenship, and we look forward to working with him to prioritize early education for California’s kids.”

In 2010, California created transitional kindergarten to serve as a “bridge” from preschool to kindergarten, Dodd’s staff said. As the first year of a two-year kindergarten experience, students born between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 are eligible for admission.

Research shows that children enrolled in transitional kindergarten experience higher test scores, are equipped with better social skills and more confidence, and are less likely to be held back a grade, they said.