Bolstering California’s increased focus on early childhood, statewide commission releases final recommendations
APRIL 29, 2019 CREDIT: LILLIAN MONGEAU/EDSOURCE
As California lawmakers consider Gov. Gavin Newsom’s early childhood proposals, a new report lays out the goals that parents, advocates and early childhood experts believe are needed to serve the state’s youngest children.
The final report of the California Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, released Monday, sets out a long-term vision for how to overhaul the early childhood education system in California, with short-term and mid-term milestones along the way. For example, it sets a long-term goal of universal access to early education, meaning eventually every child, regardless of income, should be able to enroll in preschool, but focuses on expanding access first to children in low-income families.
At least 25 early childhood bills are currently under discussion in the Legislature. Many of them would move toward the goals laid out by the Blue Ribbon Commission.
- Families with average or low incomes pay no more than 7% of income on child care.
- Childcare providers and teachers be trained and paid similarly to K-12 teachers.
- Expand paid family leave to one year with 100% wage replacement.
- Expand early childhood degree programs.
- Expand programs that offer care on nights or weekends.
- Provide grants for centers and homes to open new classrooms.
- Establish an Early Childhood Policy Council that includes parents, providers and others.
The report, which is more than 100 pages long, is the result of two years of deliberations and hearings held throughout the state with parents, child care providers, early learning experts and advocates. Commissioners included Assembly members as well as early education experts, child care providers and advocates for children and parents. A draft of the report was released in March.
Gov. Gavin Newsom made early education a major focus of his campaign and in his January budget proposal proposed almost $2 billion to expand services to young children.
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