California Democrats Looking To Expand Provisional Kindergarten To All Four-Year-Olds

The Los Angeles Times (1/8, Megerian) reports on a proposal in the California state Senate to “use an upcoming jump in education funding to make transitional kindergarten available to every 4-year-old in California,” calling the plan by Democratic lawmakers “another sign of the state’s rebounding financial health.” The Times reports that the plan would cost nearly $1 billion when it is “fully phased in by 2020.” Noting that Superintendent Tom Torlakson is on board with the plan, the Times adds that it would “would fund the hiring of 8,000 more teachers” and raise the number of students eligible for transitional kindergarten from 120,000 to 470,000.       

The Sacramento (CA) Bee (1/8) reports that Democrats in the state Senate are calling the initiative “a caucus priority for coming budget talks.” The Bee notes that currently, only a quarter of students are in the provisional kindergarten program, which “was part of a 2010 law requiring children to be older when they enroll in kindergarten.” The proposed legislation would phase in all students between four and five years old over the next five years. The piece notes that a similar plan has been floated in the state Assembly.

 Reuters (1/8, Bernstein) reports that the plan is part of a legislative push to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown to boost social program spending. The Santa Maria (CA) Times (1/8) also covers this story.