Budget Investments in Quality Address Access and Equity
As policymakers consider early childhood budget proposals, Early Edge is working to help shape a budget that meets the needs of California's diverse young children and the adults in their lives, fights poverty, and narrows the achievement gap in California. While California has made progress in recent years, more than 33,000 eligible 4 year olds are still unserved in high-quality pre-k. We recommend a final budget that recognizes the following:
- Addressing per-child reimbursement rates and income eligibility are critical pieces to access and quality. Increasing rates helps assure that providers can build capacity, apply for additional spaces, and meet costs, including the rise in the minimum wage.
- Investments in quality now will yield dividends for children, families, and society. The promise of early learning to address achievement gaps can only be realized if programs are of high quality.
- A deliberative plan to improve programs for children birth to age 5 is vital to efforts to build coherence and high quality across California’s early education and care system.
The Governor's 2016-17 Early Education Budget Proposal
With only a few weeks left in the budget process, Gov. Brown is proposing to cut transitional kindergarten (TK) and deny up to 125,000 children their right to a proven pre-k program. Speak up for kids - tell legislators to OPPOSE the governor’s budget and to save TK!
Gov. Brown’s May Revision budget proposes sweeping changes that would lump all existing early learning funding into a targeted block grant – a funding mechanism that would be vulnerable to cuts down the line. Parents, teachers and others who care about early learning are alarmed that the proposal:
- Cuts TK, denying up to 125,000 young children their right to a year of public school which they have been entitled to for decades. Cutting TK:
- Ignores research showing TK gives children a five-month advantage in kindergarten
- Eliminates the only guaranteed funding for early education
- Puts the onus on families to find affordable pre-k
- Threatens the jobs of up to 5,000 teachers
- Undermines the Legislature’s original intent of establishing TK to maintain access for youngest school children
- Provides a low per-pupil funding rate compared to high-quality preschool programs that demonstrate improved outcomes for children.
- Includes no additional funding to meet the early learning needs of over 33,000 low-income 4 year olds, and four times as many 3 year olds, who are unserved in any public pre-k program.
- References standards of quality and quality rating improvement systems, but doesn’t provide funding or a clear pathway to improve quality across pre-k programs.
The Assembly and Senate budget subcommittees on education have already rejected the Governor's proposal and many K-12 and early childhood leaders released a joint statement opposing the budget proposal and the dismantling of TK.
Stakeholder Feedback Across the State
The Department of Finance is inviting stakeholder feedback on the proposal. This is an opening to have a real conversation about improving quality of early education, supporting educators, ensuring more children have access, and securing adequate and stable funding for kids. Below is a sampling of feedback submitted to the Department of Finance.
- Early childhood and K-12 organization joint statement
- Early childhood education coalition letter
- Early Edge California comments
- Kern County Superintendent's Advisory Committee feedback
- Legislative Women's Caucus letter to Governor Brown
- Orange County Department of Education feedback
- Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District feedback
- Riverside County schools feedback
- Sacramento County Office of Education feedback
- Silicon Valley Coalition statement
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