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California Democrats Propose Pre-K for All Kids

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Students in a transitional kindergarten class at H.W. Harkness Elementary School in Sacramento.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

In an elementary school near Sacramento, students in a transitional kindergarten class practice saying the date. With a little prodding, they shout out the day, month, and year in unison. 

These kids are among several thousand California four-year olds enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs. Now state Senate Democrats want to make transitional kindergarten available to all four-year-olds. The announced their proposal today.

But expanding the state's current transitional program would cost California nearly one billion dollars by the time it’s fully implemented in the 2019-2020 school year. Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the money would well spent.

“I’m proud to call this wise-spending California. There are few better uses of the tax-payer dollars than investing in evidence based changed providing you people, four-year-olds, the head start that they need.” 

~Darrell Steinberg

Assembly Democrats have also made funding transitional kindergarten a budget priority for the coming year.

But the party will have to convince Governor Jerry Brown, who’s pushing a message of moderate spending. He will announce his budget on Friday. 

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