California State Senate Passes “Fair Start” Bill

May 29, 2014
CATEGORIES Common Sense News

As you may have seen today, the California State Senate has passed a proposal to renew high-quality pre-kindergarten opportunities for all of the state's children born into low-income families. Common Sense Media Founder and CEO Jim Steyer has released a statement in support of "Fair Start," or SB 837, authored by California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

"California has an enormous opportunity to make a smart and reasonable investment in its youngest children by providing funding that would make quality preschool opportunities open to all California families, starting with those families who have the least access to quality preschool," said James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. We are pleased that policymakers in the State Senate showed their support for the 'Fair Start' bill for California's youngest citizens. We urge policymakers at all levels in the Golden State to take note of what's happening around the country, and assume a strong leadership role by investing in the state's youngest and most important citizens."

You can read the fine print about the "Fair Start" bill here: Senate Passes Bill to Renew Pre-Kindergarten in California.

“California’s children won a huge victory this week when the Legislature added $264 million for new preschool and other early-childhood development programs for children from needy families in its budget plan.

The new funding, secured through the hard work of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg who made the issue a top priority this year, marks an important new investment in our children. It will allow for 43,000 preschool slots for low-income four-year-olds over the next several years.

As the state’s economy continues to recover, it is essential that we make key strategic investments in our children. Studies show that early childhood development programs present one of the best returns on investment for government dollars.

This year’s budget reflects the kind of smart investments the state should be making. It will provide access to preschool or transitional kindergarten for about two-thirds of California’s children, regardless of income.

Access to preschool can make the difference between a parents being able to work or being forced to stay home to take care of their child. Preschool programs help working families succeed and progress, increasing the odds that they can escape the cycle of poverty that has proven so difficult to break in our state. Under this new proposal, every low-income 4-year-old with a working parent will have full-day pre-K care and more than half of the full universe of 4-year-olds will be reached.

Clearly, there is more work to be done. But we are encouraged that the state is making Common Sense investments in children, ensuring that even those who continue to struggle feel some of the benefits of our economic recovery.”