The California Senate today gave final approval to a resolution (AJR 16), introduced by Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), which answers the call made by President Obama for states to partner with the federal government to ensure every child has the ability to access high quality preschool.
The following is from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla:
“AJR 16 provides a unique opportunity to help close the achievement gap and strengthen our economy by prioritizing early childhood education to better prepare our students for learning,” said Bonilla. “This resolution is following up on an action taken in my Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, where we asked the Superintendent of Public Instruction to come up with a plan, including various options for making high quality preschool available for all children in California over the next 5 to 10 years.”
Research shows the early years of a child’s life represent a critical window of opportunity to develop a child’s academic, social, and cognitive skills. Research also shows that every $1 invested in high quality early education, can save the state more than $7 later on by boosting grade level proficiency and graduation rates, increasing income and job stability, and reducing crime rates.
“Early Edge California applauds Assemblywoman Bonilla and the California State Legislature for their leadership and commitment to California’s children,” said Deborah Kong, Vice President of Policy and Operations at Early Edge California, sponsor of AJR 16. “California is home to 1 in 8 of the nation’s children, but we are falling short when it comes to meeting the needs of our youngest learners. This historic state commitment signals a sea change and a growing understanding that investing in children from birth through age 5 is a down payment on the future.”
AJR 16 recognizes the importance of preschool and early childhood education by urging Congress to enact President Obama’s budget proposal to increase funding for preschool and early education. AJR 16 also asks the Superintendent of Public Instruction to prepare a plan for making California more competitive for future funding increases to preschool and early learning programs.
AJR 16 is also supported by a coalition of education organizations including California School Employees Association, California Federation of Teachers, First 5 LA, California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and the Child Development Policy Institute Education.