Senator Rubio’s Legislation Making Kindergarten Mandatory Passes California Senate Education Committee

April 10, 2024

SACRAMENTO, CA – With overwhelming support the California Senate Education Committee passed SB 1056-Kindergarten for All by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park).  SB 1056 will make kindergarten mandatory prior to entering the first grade in California with delayed implementation beginning in the 2026-27 school year.

Currently, kindergarten is not required for students in California.  SB 1056 emphasizes that kindergarten is valuable for students and can be an important aspect in reducing chronic absenteeism and closing the achievement gap. With parental input, the bill includes multiple options for families to enroll their children into kindergarten.

“As a public school teacher and vice principal for almost 20 years, I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental impact on young students who miss out on fundamental early education,” said Senator Susan Rubio. “The voluntary participation for kindergarten leaves students unprepared for the educational environment they will encounter in elementary school. We have a responsibility to uplift all children in our community and ensure all students reach their full potential. This will only happen if every child is enrolled in kindergarten.” Continued Rubio.

“Research shows that Kindergarten is an essential part of a young student’s development. This critical early instruction and socialization serves as an important tool in reducing chronic absenteeism and sets a strong foundation for every child, particularly our most disadvantaged students. This is the right investment for the State of California and the State cannot wait any longer to enact this law to support every child with the opportunity to enter first grade with the tools they need to succeed. Los Angeles Unified is proud to be a sponsor of this important bill. We look forward to continuing to partner with Senator Rubio, and other state leaders to pursue policies in the best interest of children,” said Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho.

"Kindergarten lays the essential foundation for students, guiding them toward long-term achievement in language, literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional development,” said Jeffery Freitas, President, CFT —A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals.

"Kindergarten is a fundamental piece of early learning. As California expands transitional kindergarten and other preschool opportunities, kindergarten becomes more important than ever in making sure all kids enter first grade ready to succeed,” Meredith Yeh, Co-President, California Kindergarten Association.

“Mandating students to attend kindergarten prior to entering the first grade will ensure all students receive high-quality academic, social, linguistic and developmentally-appropriate learning experiences,” Martha Hernandez, Executive Director, Californians Together.

"Early Learning is essential for children's physical, intellectual, and socioemotional development and provides them with the fundamental skills and tools needed for academic success," said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director, Early Edge California.

“The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to continue our support for LAUSD and Senator Rubio and their legislative efforts to expand kindergarten to all,” Maria S. Salinas, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

“More than ever, especially post COVID, we need to see kindergarten as a ‘sturdy bridge between the early years and the early grades’ – the time when we can set the stage for the learning experience for children and when engaging parents in their children’s educational journey will have huge payoffs later,” Yolie Flores, President and CEO, Families In Schools.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, based upon a nationally representative sample of kindergarteners, Black and Latino children score significantly lower than White children in reading and math at kindergarten entry. One study found that the racial/ethnic differences in achievement and social-emotional skills primarily reflect pre-k differences in these areas.

This bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Susan Rubio proudly represents Senate District 22, which is comprised of Los Angeles County  cities Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, La Verne, Pomona, San Dimas, South El Monte, West Covina, and unincorporated communities Charter Oaks, Citrus, North El Monte, South Monrovia and Vincent as well as San Bernardino Counties of Chino, Montclair and Ontario.