Torlakson, Democrats backing measure to expand pre-K
Chase Niesner | January 10, 2014
Democratic lawmakers and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson are sponsoring new legislation to provide free public preschool to every four-year-old child in California.
The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2014, introduced by Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and co-sponsored by Torlakson and Early Edge California, will expand access to transitional kindergarten programs to all four year old children, no matter when their birthday. Currently, children with birthdays early in the year are excluded.
“It’s impossible to overstate how important these early years are to a child’s future success in school,” Torlakson said in a press release. “Transitional kindergarten—particularly a full-year, full-day program—can make all the difference, especially for families who may be struggling to give their young children these valuable learning opportunities.”
According to the proposal, 46,000 four-year-olds would be added each year for the first five years of the program, which will cost a total of $990 million by 2019-20.
The move to expand early education comes as Governor Jerry Brown announced new spending increases on public education, the result of the state’s first real surplus in years. Details of Brown’s budget for the next fiscal year emerged yesterday.