children playing

Kids can't wait to learn: Achieving voluntary preschool for all in California

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Cooper, Susanna & Dukakis, Kara
Publication Date: 
4 Aug 2004

Excerpts from the press release and executive summary:

This report pulls together authoritative research on preschool benefits; state and local enrollment rates; recent voter polling; demographic data; and media coverage to reveal that while California may be behind the preschool curve, Californians demand that it catch up. The report features enrollment rates and key demographic data for every California county.

The report also outlines research showing that children who attend quality preschool are:

- less likely to be placed in special education;

- less likely to be held back in school;

- higher achievers on standardized tests of reading and math;

- better behaved in class;

- more likely to graduate from high school and attend college; and

- less likely to be arrested or spend time in jail than those who do not enroll.

Preschool California recommends that California establish a voluntary preschool-for-all system for its 4-year-olds that will:

- meet established standards for quality;

- attract and retain professionals who are educated and compensated at levels comparable to teachers in California's K-12 system;

- be offered in culturally, ethnically and linguistically appropriate settings and developed in concert with an infrastructure for educating a culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse workforce;

- be inclusive of children with special needs;

- link to full-day early care and education programs to meet the needs of working families; and

- be publicly funded.

California's 4-year-olds are ready and eager for the learning, socialization and confidence-building that quality preschool provides. Quality preschool lays a strong learning foundation that helps them succeed in elementary school and beyond. Yet hundreds of thousands of California children don't have access to quality programs. We have the chance to make a wise investment in their future - and in California's future - by establishing a publicly-funded, voluntary system of quality preschool for all. There is no time to lose.