Assembly Subcommittee Rejects Governor's Proposal to Eliminate Transitional Kindergarten
03.13.2012 | Preschool California
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mar. 13, 2012
Assembly Subcommittee Rejects Governor’s Proposal to Eliminate Transitional Kindergarten
Legislators to School Districts: Transitional Kindergarten Remains State Law
Sacramento, CA – March 13, 2012 – In a critical move towards ensuring no child is denied their right to kindergarten, the California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance today voted to reject the governor’s budget proposal to eliminate transitional kindergarten.
“We applaud the Assembly’s leadership in taking early action to reject the governor’s short-sighted and misguided proposal,” said Catherine Atkin, president of Preschool California. “The Assembly has sent a clear message that should erase any doubt in school districts’ minds: transitional kindergarten will remain California state law.”
The Assembly’s decision to hold this early vote reflects the strong, widespread support for transitional kindergarten.
“This is a program that benefits young children and it’s going to help them succeed all the way through. I believe the cost savings will be significant in the future because of the readiness and because of what it is going to be offering to these young children,” said Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (Concord), Chairwoman of the California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education. “My recommended action is to reject the governor’s proposal to eliminate TK.”
“This TK train has already left the station. Parents are planning on it, schools are planning on it. There has already been an investment made. We would be just pulling the rug out from under these efforts that have already been happening at school sites. Parents are going to be left high and dry,” said Assemblymember Julia Brownley (Santa Monica), Chairwoman of the California State Assembly Committee on Education.
“This proposal is misguided. I’m really concerned about us compromising the developmental experience of our children,” said Assemblymember Sandré Swanson (Alameda).
"We want to keep the governor's overall budget, and are trying to make appropriate tweaks in areas where we have already set a strong policy direction we want to keep. [Transitional kindergarten] is one of those areas where this body has already spoken," said Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (San Fernando Valley), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.
The Assembly’s vote marks the latest in a series of victories for giving California’s youngest learners the access to education to which they are entitled by law. Last week, the San Francisco Unified School District, originally the first district to announce it would cancel transitional kindergarten, reversed its decision and joined the more than 120 school districts moving ahead with transitional kindergarten implementation this fall.
A map of California school districts implementing transitional kindergarten is available at: http://www.earlyedgecalifornia.org/resources/resource-files/california-school-districts.pdf.
At today’s hearing, the Save Kindergarten Coalition released new data detailing the number of students per assembly district who would hang in the balance should Governor Brown’s proposal to cut transitional kindergarten take effect. The data illustrates for each state assemblymember how his or her constituent families would be affected.
California State Assembly District Map illustrating the number of kids who could lose their right to kindergarten this fall in each legislative district are available at: www.earlyedgecalifornia.org/tkdistrictmap.
Impacted parents, educators and advocates voiced their strong support for transitional kindergarten at today’s hearing as part of the “March Mobilization to Save Kindergarten” – a statewide initiative led by the Save Kindergarten Coalition to sound a warning bell about the unprecedented number of students who could be denied access to public education this fall if the governor’s budget proposal is adopted.
Advocates from the California Federation of Teachers, California Kindergarten Association, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Alameda County Superintendents Association, Children Now, Preschool California and others asked the legislature to ensure all children have equal access to education by upholding the existing law.
As part of March Mobilization to Save Kindergarten activities, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla will convene a Select Committee hearing with Contra Costa County school district leaders on the importance of following the Kindergarten Readiness Act and moving forward with full implementation of transitional kindergarten in accordance with California state law.
The Save Kindergarten Coalition of school districts, superintendents, educators, parents, business and civic leaders and child advocates spearheading the March Mobilization reject the governor’s proposal and is urging the California state legislature and governor to follow the Kindergarten Readiness Act that established transitional kindergarten and remains state law. Learn more about the Save Kindergarten Campaign at: www.earlyedgecalifornia.org/savekindergarten.
Fully implementing transitional kindergarten is in accordance with The Kindergarten Readiness Act – the California law that changed the kindergarten entry date so that children enter school at age 5 and establishing transitional kindergarten, a developmentally-appropriate grade to serve those younger students with birthdays between September and December. The governor’s budget proposal is at odds with The Kindergarten Readiness Act, which remains the law and could impact 1 out of 4 kindergarten-aged students.
About Preschool California
Preschool California is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to increase access to high-quality early learning for all of California’s children, starting with those who need it most. Learn more at: www.earlyedgecalifornia.org/savekindergarten.
California State Assembly and Senate District Maps illustrating the number of kids who could be barred from public school this fall in each legislative district are available at: www.earlyedgecalifornia.org/tkdistrictmap.
A map of California school districts implementing transitional kindergarten is available at: www.earlyedgecalifornia.org/tkmap.