(Photo above) Members of CTA’s Early Childhood
Education Committee meet with Assembly Member Ian Calderon (at right) in
Sacramento as part of the efforts to secure passage of CTA’s only 2014
sponsored bill, AB 1444 (Buchanan and Weber), the mandatory kindergarten measure.
The CTA members are (from l.) Michelle Johnson, Trent Stillman, and Sue Allen.
A dozen members of the CTA State Council of Education Early Childhood
Education Committee spent Tuesday in the state Capitol meeting with lawmakers
in support of AB 1444, the CTA-sponsored measure by Assembly Education Chair
Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego). They
visited the offices of all 17 members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee,
where the bill is awaiting further action.
The 12 CTA members are
classroom experts who helped educate lawmakers about the importance of ensuring
that every child benefits from the rigorous introduction to learning that
occurs in today’s kindergarten classroom.
90 percent of the state’s youngsters are now completing public
kindergarten before starting first grade, and another 5 percent are enrolling in
private or parochial kindergarten classes. But the 5 percent who do not attend
either option are drawn disproportionately from among English language
learners and minority and impoverished
Missing kindergarten means
these children start first grade at a
disadvantage, a gap that can widen as they continue into higher grades.
AB 1444 is among dozens of
bills now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee’s hold or “suspense” file.
Soon, the panel will try to determine which of the bills on suspense the state
The CTA members reminded
lawmakers that the measure would cost only around $6 million annually, at a
time state revenues are exceeding earlier estimates by more than $2.4 billion,
according to the governor’s newly release May Revision of his budget.
The bill would save the state
enormous costs by increasing the high school graduation rate and boosting the
number of youngsters fully prepared to enter the workforce.
(Photo above) Assembly Appropriations Chair Mike Gatto (at
left) listens intently as educators Marie Ibsen and Ruthie Fagerstrom stress
the importance of CTA-sponsored AB 1444.