Contact: Len Feldman (916) 747-3657 or Dina Martin (650) 552-5491
CTA President Barbara E. Kerr testified before the Assembly Education Committee on April 25 on behalf of AB 1236
SACRAMENTO – President of the California Teachers Association, Barbara E. Kerr, urged a legislative committee Wednesday to approve a comprehensive CTA-sponsored measure that would, for the first-time, mandate kindergarten for all five-year-olds and provide all four-year-olds with kindergarten readiness programs within the state’s public school system. The bill aims to offer all youngsters equal opportunities for success.
CTA President Barbara E. Kerr addressed the Assembly Education Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday to seek lawmakers’ approval for AB 1236 by Assembly Member Gene Mullin (D-San Francisco).
AB 1236 seeks to ensure that all students receive rigorous academic preparation – appropriate for their age – that will help them succeed in school, in college and in the increasingly challenging world of work.
The bill reflects studies showing that early, appropriate academic preparation is vital to students’ success all through their careers, but that confronting youngsters with too rigorous academic challenges before they are developmentally and socially mature enough can be counterproductive.
“California’s high academic standards have resulted in an evolution of kindergarten into a rigorous academic environment that prepares children to succeed in later grades. To succeed in kindergarten, children must be prepared to learn, and they must be developmentally ready to take on the challenges of our state standards. AB 1236 will help prepare all students for these challenges and make sure they are ready for kindergarten,” said CTA President Kerr. “It will provide all California children with an equal opportunity to succeed.”
The measure has three major components. The bill will, for the first time, make kindergarten attendance mandatory for five-year-olds, and it will require children to be five on or before September 1 of the year in which they would start kindergarten. Currently, youngsters may start at ages as young as 4 years and six months if their school is on a year-round calendar. AB 1236 will also create a comprehensive, voluntary kindergarten readiness program for all children one year prior to their start of kindergarten.
If approved by Assembly Education, AB 1236 will head next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.