California Must Recommit to Preschoolers in Next State Budget

This year's legislative session featured bills signed by Governor Brown that will usher in sweeping changes for California -- and it also included at least one significant missed opportunity with the veto of Assembly Bill 47, the Preschool for All Act.
|
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

This year's legislative session featured bills signed by Governor Brown that will usher in sweeping changes for California - and it also included at least one significant missed opportunity with the veto of Assembly Bill 47, the Preschool for All Act.

AB 47 (McCarty) would have built upon California's promise to our preschoolers, setting a prudent timeline for our state to fulfill its commitment to provide quality preschool to all low-income 4 year olds in the state. In his veto message, the governor recognizes the intent codified last year intent to make preschool opportunities available to all low-income children, and says the discussion on expanding state preschool should be considered in the budget process.

We consider that an invitation for the upcoming budget cycle.

In Sacramento and across the state, there is a groundswell of preschool momentum not only to be proud of, but to build upon. AB 47 moved smoothly through the Legislature with strong bipartisan support. A diverse group of education, health, women, parent, law enforcement, business, faith-based, local and county elected officials, and military stakeholders mobilized to stand by our preschoolers. And more than 3,700 individual Californians urged the governor to make good on the promise of preschool.

These groups came together to secure a significant investment in this summer's budget deal - more than $300 million for child development in the budget, including funding for 9,500 new preschool spaces for kids. But we still have more work to do to reach all of our low-income children, and we're well-positioned to carry the support for preschool into the next year.

In the face of research that shows high-quality preschool has a profound impact on the trajectory of a child's life, preschool should not be a hard sell. A powerful body of research shows that investing in quality early education is highly effective in promoting student readiness for kindergarten and academic success throughout their K-12 education experience. Early intervention in a child's education increases cognitive, language, social, and emotional development. This leads to decreased grade retention, special education placements, and crime, and increased high school graduation rates and college attendance, and stronger 21st century workforce skills.

With state revenues currently exceeding the Department of Finance's initial budget forecast, funding is no excuse to leave children and families in the dust. In fact, quality early education has one of the highest returns on investment. For every dollar invested in high-quality early learning programs, society can save $8.60, according to the President's Council of Economic Advisors.

In summary, quality early education is good for our children, families, schools, communities, and the economy. There is little sense in stalling the promise of preschool.

And while the intent to provide preschool is appreciated, actions still speak louder than words. I'm looking to Governor Brown to ensure progress in expanding preschool for all low-income 4 year olds, and investing in quality and affordability in his January budget. I look forward to working with the Administration to establish a path forward that ensures all children birth to age 5 have the experiences they need to succeed in school and in life.

Go To Homepage

Before You Go

Popular in the Community