Governor signs early childhood legislation, highlights transformative investments in early learning

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On Tuesday Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation uplifting dual language learners and improving access to child care.

The governor also highlighted the California Comeback Plan’s unprecedented investments to achieve universal transitional kindergarten by 2025 and create college savings accounts for 3.7 million kids.

“In California, we are committed to transforming our public schools to promote equity, inclusivity and opportunity for every student,” said Gov. Newsom. “Building upon this year’s historic budget investments in universal Pre-K and college savings accounts, these bills will improve access to a good education for children across California so that every child can thrive, regardless of their race, language spoken at home or ZIP code.”

AB 1363 by Assembly member Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) requires the superintendent of public instruction to develop procedures for state preschool contractors to identify and report data on dual language learners.

SB 393 by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) aligns the Migrant Child Care Alternative Payment program with other voucher programs, improving child care access for migrant agricultural workers.

AB 1294 by Assembly member Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) extends the county child care pilot program for the County of Santa Clara to continue by one year, through July 1, 2023.

Rivas said more than 60% of California’s students come from a home where English is not the primary language, and the state is taking decisive action to strengthen bilingual students’ early learning opportunities.

“With the governor’s signing of AB 1363, California leads the nation in education policy once more by becoming the first state to create a standardized process that identifies and supports K-12 dual language learners at an early age,” Rivas said.

The California Comeback Plan includes investments to transform public schools into gateways of opportunity.

As part of the governor’s $123.9 billion Pre-K and K-12 education package, California will provide free, high-quality, inclusive prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds, beginning in 2022-23 with full implementation anticipated by 2025-26.

The plan reduces class sizes, cutting adult-to-child ratios in half with at least an average of one adult for every 12 children, down from one for every 24 children.

The plan also invests $1.9 billion to seed college savings accounts of up to $1,500 for 3.7 million current low-income students, English learners and foster and homeless youth. Moving forward, those groups of students will have savings accounts seeded for them in first grade.

“We know from research and from experience that the early years are critical to support a child’s learning and development. Universal Pre-K is California’s opportunity to ensure every child, regardless of background, race, ZIP code, immigration status or income level, gets the fair start they need and deserve on their path to success,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “I’m proud to have sponsored Universal TK legislation and to partner with the governor and the Legislature on implementing this major step forward.”

“Every child deserves access to high quality early learning opportunities that will prepare them to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Universal transitional kindergarten (UTK) makes that a reality,” said Assembly member Kevin McCarty. “High quality early education sets children up for success in school, lifts up working families, narrows opportunity gaps, and breaks cycles of intergenerational poverty. UTK is a huge win for California’s children and families. Thank you Gov. Newsom for your unwavering commitment to our youngest learners.”

“I am thrilled that California is making history by investing in our children, their education, and their futures. Wealth inequality and the high cost of education have slammed the door shut on lower- and middle-income advancement across our state,” said Assembly member Adrin Nazarian. “A child savings account dispenses more than just a financial asset, but hope and optimism. This funding is a true investment in California’s next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, educators and community leaders.”

“Gov. Newsom’s historic policies advancing early learning for our youngest Californians are a game changer,” said Patricia Lozano, executive director of Early Edge California. “They bring California closer than ever to providing equity for all in education. From expanding Universal Pre-K to allocating resources for multilingual learners, Gov. Newsom and the Legislature have led the charge to help all of California’s students to succeed in life.”

The California Comeback Plan also provides $10 million to expand dual language immersion programs and $300 million to increase the number of state preschool or TK programs and provide additional pre-K teacher training. It invests $490 million to support the building and renovating of state preschool, TK and kindergarten facilities.

The plan will phase in 200,000 new child care slots by 2025-26, dramatically expanding access for families.

A full list of the bills signed by the governor is below:

AB 1294 by Assembly member Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) — Childcare: individualized county child care subsidy plans.

AB 1363 by Assembly member Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) — Preschool: dual language learners.

SB 393 by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) — Migrant Childcare and Development Programs.

For full text of the bills, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.