Mandatory kindergarten closer to reality in California

West

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NewsNation) — If signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California could soon join the list of 19 other states that require children to attend kindergarten.

Under Senate Bill 70 introduced by Democratic Sen. Susan Rubio, students will be required to complete one year of kindergarten before entering first grade.

The bill was approved by the Senate late Monday and would take effect in the 2024-25 school year.

“As a public school teacher for 17 years, I have witnessed the detrimental impact on young students who miss out on fundamental early education,” said Rubio in a news release in June. “The voluntary participation for kindergarten leaves students unprepared for the educational environment they will encounter in elementary school. The pandemic has exacerbated this reality. I thank my Assembly colleagues for their support and look forward to continue working with the legislature and the governor on this critical legislation.”

Currently, 19 states and Washington, D.C. require kindergarten, and 17 states and the District of Columbia require full-day kindergarten, according to the Education Commission of the States.

Newsom’s Department of Finance opposes the bill due to its cost, which a legislative analysis estimated would be in the “low hundreds of millions annually,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

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