By Greg Bortkiewicz, Communications and Advocacy Manager at Kidango. Find out more about Kidango’s advocacy work. Published on March 27, 2019.
Earlier this week I was in Sacramento for the State Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance. The hearing was dedicated entirely to early childhood education (ECE) – a further sign of the importance that this administration is placing on the issue, as was the fact that the committee room was packed.
The hearing was chaired by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento). McCarty is a strong advocate for ECE and is the author of a legislative package dubbed “PreK For All”. The package consists of three bills, including the Kidango-sponsored AB 123. This bill will increase access to high-quality preschool programs for thousands of children across California by targeting the communities most in need, addressing the challenges faced by working parents, and increasing qualifications and wages for teachers.
The hearing consisted of multiple panels who discussed Gov. Newsom’s ECE budget proposal, preschool expansion, investment in facilities and the workforce, and other ECE proposals related to infant/toddler services.
Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park) addressed the committee to advocate for California’s infants and toddlers. Rubio is another legislator with a strong track record of supporting ECE causes. We have previously sponsored bills authored by her that focus on preschool expulsion and childhood mental health and we’re currently sponsoring AB 167, which will provide access to high-quality infant/toddler programs and services for 20,000 children in high-need communities.
The hearing concluded with an opportunity for public comment and almost everyone in the room immediately jumped into the line! My colleague Michele took the chance to note Kidango’s support for strengthening ECE in California and I read out a statement on behalf of a Kidango parent who was unable to make the hearing.
It was amazing to see so many people advocating for ECE. Among the other organizations present were Early Edge, First 5 California, Child Care Resource Center and Parent Voices. It was especially inspiring to see how many parents had come from far and wide to share their stories with the committee.
The hearings will continue to come thick and fast as we approach the May budget revise. I’m thrilled by the support for ECE I’ve seen so far and look forward to continuing to advocate for such an important cause.
What change would you most like to see in the ECE world? Leave a comment below or tweet us @Kidango.