Early Childhood

California Bill Pushes Mandatory Kindergarten

By Julie Blair — January 23, 2014 1 min read
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Kindergarten would be mandatory in California under a plan submitted earlier this week in the state Assembly by Democrat Shirley N. Weber as yet another link in the Golden State’s evolving early-childhood education program.

“We are building a lot of the state’s educational policy—preschool, pre-K, transitional kindergarten— around the assumption that California’s children will attend kindergarten,” Weber said, in a statement. “But a lot of Californians will be surprised to find out kindergarten is actually not mandatory in the state.”

Currently 490,000 students are enrolled in kindergarten, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Forty-four states and the District of Columbia require either half-day or full-day kindergarten, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania do not mandate it, although school districts may offer it.

No committee hearing has been schedule on the California bill nor has opposition to it been voiced, the local newspaper stated.

Weber’s effort is another spoke in the early-childhood education wheel: Lawmakers are also considering voluntary preschool for an estimated 340,000 4-year-olds under a plan pushed by Democratic Senator Darrell Steinberg.

I wrote about that effort on last week. Click here to read more, as well as about California’s Transitional Kindergarten program.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.