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California’s Historic Investment In Universal Pre-K

The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical for brain development and learning. With countless studies showing that these first five years have lasting impacts on the trajectory of a person’s life and well-being. Preschool (Pre-K) is incredibly beneficial in a child’s learning and development. Still, it has been historically excluded from public education funding. As a result, Pre-K has been unattainable for many California parents who rely on the public education system for their children and could not afford the high cost of private Pre-K programs. Children who can afford to attend a Pre-K program reap the life-long benefits of early education. In contrast, their lower-income counterparts who could not participate in Pre-K programs are put at an educational disadvantage. 

In an effort to invest in the development and education of California’s next generation, the State of California, in collaboration with the Office of the Governor and the California legislature, made a historic investment to provide free, high-quality, inclusive pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds, beginning by 2025-26.

AB 130, spearheaded by the California legislative leaders, provides a historic $490 million to support the construction and renovation of state preschool, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten facilities, culminating in $2.7 billion in ongoing funds starting 2025-26 for universal Pre-K for all four-year-olds. This investment will level the achievement and educational playing field for over 400,000 children who would typically only enroll in California’s public kindergarten classrooms. More than that, it is a direct investment for the next generation of Californians. It will hopefully encourage other states throughout the country to take the next step in investing in universal Pre-K and children’s education.