On February 10th, Senator Connie Levya introduced SB-976, Universal Preschool Act, to expand preschool availability to all families and allow all types of childcare programs to participate.
Where is the bill in the legislative process?
The bill just passed through the California Senate, and now moves to the Assembly.
Why support Universal Preschool?
Universal Preschool will expand the availability of high-quality preschool by making free, inclusive preschool available to all families. It will also support and empower families to choose the best and most developmentally-appropriate provider for their child.
Under current law, parents have a false choice between free, part-day Transitional Kindergarten or paid community-based programs. Community-based programs are often more flexible and accommodating of families’ and children’s needs, such as care during nontraditional hours or the ability to help with potty training and building curriculums that meet children at their developmental stages.
By establishing a preschool system that is universal, not uniform, SB-976 will give families a genuine choice of whichever program or provider type is best for their children without cost as an additive burden.
Families vary in size, structure, cultural priorities, linguistic needs, and residential area. A successful ECE continuum should allow families to choose which program is best for them and their children.
Will all preschool programs be able to participate?
Universal Preschool will preserve and support all providers, including community-based child care centers, local education agencies, family childcare homes, and Head Start programs. It will fund an active partnership at the local level to ensure that families’ needs are met.
Utilizing the state’s existing provider networks and local Resource and Referral infrastructure will provide expertise, more options, and greater access for children and families.
What about infants and toddlers?
Universal Preschool also supports access to child care for infants and toddlers by supporting the community-based child care providers that often serve multiple age groups.
How can I get involved?
We've launched a website supporting the effort, Universal Preschool Now!.
Sign up here to get involved with letter-writing, calling, and meeting with legislators to make this bill a reality.