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New Calif. Commission Focuses On Early Childhood Education

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Since the recession, discussions surrounding preschool and early child care options for Californians have centered on a lack of state funding.

A new commission aimed at reviewing early childhood education policies beyond the budget met for the first time Monday.

The commission was started by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who ran an early childhood education program before he took office.

He says funding was an issue even before the state cut a billion dollars during the recession.

“I still had waiting lists of hundreds and hundreds of children at the time,” Rendon says.

Rendon wants the commission to review other aspects of the programs, including the number of slots being provided to kids and teaching curriculums.

“There’s winners and there’s losers, and there’s not much of an exploration of potential policy outcomes, potential avenues for doing policy.”

Rendon is also hoping the commission will look into whether the state is paying appropriate rates to early child care providers.

Last year’s budget deal raised reimbursement rates for early childhood education providers. But this year, the governor has proposed freezing those rates because he projects a budget deficit.

One expert told the commission that there is often lack of child care options for zero to two year olds because caring for babies is more expensive.

According to a recent analysis by the left-leaning think tank California Budget and Policy Center, only one in seven qualifying families are receiving their subsidized child care.

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