SACRAMENTO – Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced a bill to provide universal preschool to all four year olds in the state of California.
“Adopting universal preschool is an investment in our future that will pay dividends for years to come, said Senator Dodd. “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.”
Around 170,000 California children who are eligible for publicly funded preschool are not enrolled because there are not enough spots available. 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.
“Common Sense Kids Action is pleased to hear that Senator Dodd is introducing a bill to address the need to expand T-K in California,” said Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense, the nation’s leading 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 Senator 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. As the first year of a two-year kindergarten experience, students born between September 2 and December 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.
Senator Dodd’s measure would build on the state’s successful transitional kindergarten program, by expanding enrollment to all four year olds. The bill, SB 837, now awaits action in the state Senate, with its first hearing expected by March.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd