Education

California lawmakers approve bill to make kindergarten mandatory, again

California is one step closer to mandating that children attend kindergarten, a requirement that would come after droves of the state’s youngest students skipped the grade during the pandemic, heightening learning gap concerns.A bill approved by the state Senate this week is headed to the governor’s desk and would require children to complete a year of kindergarten before entering first grade, beginning in the 2024-25 school year.

“This ensures that children receive critical instruction in their earliest years of learning and are properly prepared,” said Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), a former teacher and author of Senate Bill 70. “For students who have not been enrolled in kindergarten, oftentimes teachers and parents spend way too much time trying to teach foundational skills and their peers are already ahead and have mastered those skills.”

Although Gov. Gavin Newsom has made early education a part of his gubernatorial agenda, increasing access to preschool and transitional kindergarten statewide, it is uncertain whether he will sign the bill as his Department of Finance opposed the bill because of its costs.

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