New Bill Would Make Kindergarten Mandatory

In California, students aren’t required to attend school until they’re six years old and eligible for the first grade. If they haven’t attended kindergarten, they can simply move into Grade 1. That could change under a new bill authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and Senator Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park).

AB 2226 would make kindergarten mandatory. While parents could still wait until age six to enroll their child in school, the child would have to start out in kindergarten if they haven’t completed it before. Completion of private or homeschool kindergarten would count.

The bill revives legislation introduced in 2022. AB 70 faced heated opposition from Republicans as well as the Department of Finance. It was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom amid cost concerns.

Given the state’s budget deficit, AB 2226 seems even less likely to succeed this time around. But the authors insist it’s necessary.

“As a public school teacher for over 17 years, I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental impact on young students who miss out on fundamental early education,” Rubio said. “The voluntary participation for kindergarten leaves students unprepared for the educational environment they will encounter in elementary school. Recent data from the California Research Bureau shows that the majority of students who are not enrolled in kindergarten are Latino, creating an equity issue throughout the state and worsening the already troubling achievement gap. We have a responsibility to uplift all children in our community and ensure all students reach their full potential. This will only happen if every child is enrolled in kindergarten.”

AB 2226 is supported by Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, CFT – a Union of Educators and Classified Professionals, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and more.

Read the bill’s text here.

 


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Thursday, March 28, 2024 - 09:07

School construction bonds faced some headwinds during the March 5 primary, with a passage rate of around 60% compared with the 73% seen in typical past primaries.