AAUW Supports Strong Start Program

AAUW Morgan Hill is part of the Santa Clara Interbranch Council (IBC), a 501(c)(4) organization with representatives from the seven Santa Clara County AAUW branches and encourages their interaction, communication, and collaboration.

The SCC Strong Start – AAUW Connection

The Santa Clara County (SCC) Office of Education sponsors the Strong Start program to strengthen the county’s early childhood education. Since AAUW CA priorities advocate for “adequate and equitable funding for high quality public education for all students, including preschoolers”, the seven SCC AAUW branches are local advocates, among many, of the program. All seven branches are regularly apprised of the actions taken by Strong Start.

Strong Start Website

California’s 2022 Early Childcare & Education Legislative Goals

The American Rescue Plan, the current federal budget being negotiated, and California’s 2022 budget give strong support to early childhood care and education.

Though the need for affordable, high-quality childcare for first responders and hospital workers during the pandemic is obvious, many childcare facilities have shut down to stem the spread of the virus. To make amends, California’s legislative goals include providing universal Transitional Kindergarten regardless of income, full affordable day care for working families, and increasing the capacity of childcare centers.

How Transitional K for 4-year-olds will be made fully available:

Making Transitional K program for 4-year-olds fully available in regular public schools by 2025 is an aggressive goal. It entails having an accurate count of children (from the census) for the program; building of facilities at the current schools to accommodate the classes; increase of after-school care for all children; recruitment of more T-K teachers; and a curriculum designed for 4-year-olds to prepare them for the updated Kindergarten program.

The legislation CA AB130 passed in July 2020 provides funds for the public school T-K program. Currently, children must be 5 years old by the entry cut-off date of September 1 of the school year to attend Kindergarten, required in 2014 in accordance with implementation of the 2010 Kindergarten Readiness Act (SB 1381). Many children who turn 5 after that date are left behind, especially if their family is unable to find or afford pre-school. This model makes more children eligible each year. In 2025 all children who are 4 years old between September 2 to December 1 will enter Transitional Kindergarten to enter Kindergarten the following year at 5 years of age.

What you can do:

If you have relatives, friends, or co-workers with children 4 or younger, tell them about the legislation. Send them to the Strong Start website.

By Claire Noonan, AAUW California Public Policy Committee Contact/Liaison

The AAUW MH Branch Public Policy Chair is Jenny Redfern.