The state Assembly Education Committee yesterday passed AB 2252 by Assemblyman Alberto Torrico (D-20th), which would ensure access to preschool programs for all children in California.
"As the father of two young children, I understand how important it is for children to receive quality education early in their lives," Torrico said. "Countless studies have shown that those children who attend preschool get a better start in life, become better students in school and more productive members of society."
A study of one highly recognized Chicago preschool program showed that at-risk 3 and 4 year olds who did not attend the program were five times more likely to be chronic law breakers than a child who attended preschool.
Additionally, the High/Scope Perry Preschool Study showed that left out children were 70 percent more likely than program participants to have been arrested for a violent crime by age 18. And last Monday, a study was released showing that children participating in the Los Angeles Universal Preschool program greatly increased the skills that are necessary to succeed in kindergarten
"Despite the clear benefits of preschool education, California still falls well short of meeting the needs of its children," Torrico continued. "There are well over 300,000 state eligible children without access to quality preschool care, and over three-fourths of our publicly funded preschools have waiting list. This is inexcusable and something needs to be done"
AB 2252 requires the Legislature to continuously appropriate enough funding sufficient to enroll all three-and four-year-old children of families who meet the eligibility requirements and who want to attend preschool.
Torrico, whose 20th Assembly district includes much of Pleasanton, said the bill will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.