FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Governor Gavin Newsom is investing billions to offer TK to all California 4-year-olds.
“Not in terms of marginalized investments in the millions but transformational investments in the billions,” said Newsom.
Newsom announced soon every 4-year-old will have access to TK. Currently, only about one in three 4-year-olds participates in TK.
“TK will now be fully implemented in the state of California a $2.7-billion investment,” said Newsom.
Newsom proposed by 2024-2025 school year California will offer a two-year TK program to students who are 4 years old.
California State Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond, said low-income households tend to skip out on enrolling their students in kindergarten programs. Especially during the pandemic.
“And everyone understands that as we head to the fall that in-person instruction is what our students need, for social connections, and connections with their educators,” said Thurmond.
He is hoping with this new announcement that will change along with schools allowing in person instruction once again.
But Newsom’s announcement comes right after public schools in Fresno County report a drop in attendance mostly coming from kindergarten students.
Ambra O’Connor is the Executive Director for the Department of Prevention and Intervention for Fresno Unified. O’Connor said their attendance has dropped below 70,000.
“The bulk of the 1,100 actually is in kindergarten so over a thousand students that where we see the largest drop and talking to our sister districts, they are seeing a similar trend with kindergarten,” said O’Connor.
According to FUSD, their enrollment is currently at 69,676. Clovis Unified also saying their decrease in enrollment came almost entirely from lower kindergarten numbers.
“One because it’s not mandatory and two it was very challenging for a lot of families virtually,” said O’Connor.