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AB 1444 (Buchanan/Weber) – Sponsor Mandatory Kindergarten

Providing All Students with Important Learning Tools through Kindergarten Enrollment  

Background: CTA is proudly sponsoring AB 1444, by Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), to ensure that all students begin first grade fully prepared to take on the increased challenges of today’s elementary curriculum. With the current standards, and especially as the Common Core State Standards are being implemented, students who do not attend Kindergarten are at a distinct disadvantage when they get to first grade in terms of achievement levels, oral language development, fine and gross motor skill development, and social/emotional development.  

Key message: CTA believes in providing students with a quality education beginning the very moment they get to our schools. To do so, it is necessary for students to begin mastering critical skills in the first grade. CTA is sponsoring AB 1444 because kindergarten provides students with that much-needed, early learning that prepares them to succeed throughout their academic careers. Because kindergarten attendance is currently voluntary, too many students – including many ethnic minorities, English learners, and students living in low-income homes – start first grade at a significant disadvantage. We believe that making kindergarten mandatory is critical so that all children can be better prepared for career or college by the 12th grade.  

Talking Points:

CTA believes in providing students with a quality education that begins the very moment they get to our schools. Making kindergarten mandatory is critical so that all children can be better prepared for career or college by the 12th grade.

CTA believes in providing students with a quality education that begins the very moment they get to our schools. Making kindergarten mandatory is critical so that all children can be better prepared for career or college by the 12 grade.

Currently, kindergarten enrollment is voluntary, but children whose parents do not enroll them are at a distinct disadvantage when they enter first grade. Students who attend kindergarten sporadically – or not at all – generally lag in terms of achievement levels, oral language development, fine and gross motor skill development, and social/emotional development.  

CTA believes mandatory kindergarten would help every student master key “learning-to-learn” skills that can help shrink the achievement gap. Because enrollment is lowest among students of ethnic minorities, English learners, and children living below the poverty line, by closing “kindergarten attendance gap,” we can help close the achievement gap in later grades. In fact, recent studies show that these students suffer the greatest impact by not attending kindergarten.

 The absenteeism rate in kindergarten is high. Parents pull their children out for the day often because they do not see kindergarten as the important part of their child’s education that it is. CTA supports AB 1444 because it will help parents understand that kindergarten attendance is important to ensure student success.

AB 1444 is a win-win for all as it would minimally impact funding provided to local school districts. Since the state already pays ADA money for kindergarten now, the increased cost to the state is not extreme and can easily be accommodated without jeopardizing large amounts of Local Control Funding Formula appropriations.  

We appreciate Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who have decades of combined teaching experience, for introducing on CTA’s behalf, sponsored legislation to require all five-year-olds to attend kindergarten. They know that kindergarten provides students with invaluable skills that help them succeed in every following grade level.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

© 1999- California Teachers Association