Friday, May 9, 2014

Weber’s Education Bills Pass First Test

SACRAMENTO – Two kindergarten bills jointly authored by Assemblymembers Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) and Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) were passed by the Assembly Committee on Education Wednesday.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1719 would require all school districts offering kindergarten implement a full-day kindergarten program.

“Students are being held to more rigorous academic standards under the K-12 Common Core curriculum,” Weber said.  “A full-day kindergarten program would provide students - in particular those children unable to attend preschool - an opportunity to strengthen the foundational skills necessary to succeed in school.”

Assembly Bill 1444 would require kindergarten for all of the state’s schoolchildren before entering the first grade. Weber, a former San Diego City School Board trustee and president noted that the voluntary status of kindergarten allows parents to delay their child’s entrance into school, leaving students unprepared for the educational environment when they enroll in first grade.

“We are making a significant investment in the state’s K-12 system,” she said. It’s time we made kindergarten mandatory to ensure that our investment in student success is maximized,”

The Committee also passed AB 2380, a measure authored by Weber aimed at increasing parental participation in spending decisions under the new local control funding formula.  This bill was passed with bipartisan support.

Weber has been successful in moving a large number of measures from her bill package in recent weeks, including. AB 2591, that would establish a mechanism for providing basic material needs to homeless children; AB 2566 extending Cal Grant eligibility for one year; AB 2278 which would help small businesses compete for large state contracts; AB 2617 exempting civil rights laws from forced arbitration agreements; and AB 2243, which helps former offenders fully reintegrate into society by exercising their voting rights.

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