Report of the Working Group on
TABLE OF CONTENTS
READINESS AND ACHIEVEMENT
The School Readiness Working Group
proposes a coordinated set of programs and services for families and their
children, birth to grade three that are sufficiently powerful and accessible to
improve school readiness and performance. The long-term goal is to reverse a
widespread pattern of underachievement in California schools and close the
achievement gap that affects many children across the state.
- FOR INFANTS AND
TODDLERS: Fund high quality programs for all low-income infants and toddlers
and enhance developmental screening in the earliest years of life.
- FOR PRESCHOOLERS: For the two years leading
up to kindergarten entry, provide universal access to formal preschool programs
that offer group experiences, standards-based curricula, and individualized
transition plans to kindergarten.
- FOR KINDERGARTENERS: Require kindergarten
attendance for all children; phase in full-school-day kindergarten; and align
preschool and kindergarten standards, curricula, and services.
- FOR CHILDREN IN PRIMARY GRADES: Require
“Ready Schools” plans to build on the gains that children have made
during their early years.
- FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES AND OTHER
SPECIAL NEEDS: Establish accountability and mandate professional development to
ensure effective placements of children in inclusive and appropriate early
childhood education programs with suitable child-adult ratios for children with
disabilities and other special
BUILD A STRONGER
STATEWIDE SYSTEM FOR EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION
is a vital but insufficient step toward school readiness. The following
recommendations aim at creating the framework needed to deliver those services,
raise quality, ensure equity, and create accountability.
- CHILD OUTCOMES AND PROGRAM PERFORMANCE
STANDARDS: Require the use of child learning and development goals supported by
individualized learning plans and uniform program standards for all publicly
funded licensed and license-exempt programs.
- STAFFING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Enact
Omnibus Early Childhood Development legislation that raises standards for early
childhood educators and funds a professional development system that prepares,
supports, and guides the compensation of all adults who care for and educate
- ACCOUNTABILITY: Enact legislation to create
an accountability system (including program evaluation) that ensures that public
investments in early care and education result in improved school readiness and,
over time, improved achievement.
- GOVERNANCE: Combine all existing state and
federal child care and development programs into one early education system
under the California Department of Education. Devolve decision-making regarding
planning and resource allocation to county superintendents of
- FINANCE: Develop and fund a per-child
allocation model of financing early care and education sufficient to meet the
new system's quality standards and organizational infrastructure requirements.
- FACILITIES: Improve the availability,
quality, and maintenance of early education
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR
The Working Group
recognizes the primacy of families in children’s lives and the impact of
neighborhoods on family life. It recommends a system of services that promotes
family responsibility and involvement in children’s educational success
and also addresses school readiness in all of its dimensions. Finally, the
group emphasizes building community capacity to promote children’s school
readiness, achievement, and well-being.
- SCHOOL READINESS CENTERS: Enact legislation
that will allocate resources to establish a network of neighborhood-based School
Readiness Centers that gives all families access to essential services to meet
children’s developmental needs.
- HEALTH CARE RESOURCES: Provide stable and
continuous health care for children and pregnant women, develop a statewide
system for issuing health and development “passports,” and expand
- WORK AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT: Provide
incentives for paid family leave and employer/workplace family-friendly