Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, announced that her bill to increase access to state child care services and preschools passed the Assembly floor with no opposition. Assembly Bill 321 would make low-income dual-language learners eligible for priority enrollment.
“This bill helps low-income, dual-language learners gain access to vitally important early childhood education,” Valladares said in a prepared statement. “By making them eligible for priority enrollment for state child care services and preschool, AB 321 offers one meaningful way for the state to help them understand English proficiently before they enter TK-12.”
English learners are more likely to experience poverty than their native English-speaking peers, and according to the U.S. Department of Education, they lag behind in performance on statewide tests. However, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, English learners who become proficient in English not only perform as well as their English-learning peers, but also even outperform native English speakers, depending on grade level.
“This is a huge step towards helping more low income, dual-language learners access early childhood education and towards preparing them for TK-12 learning,” said Valladares.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.