Today's Law As Amended

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AB-2410 Early learning: school readiness.(2015-2016)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) High-quality, early learning experiences have been shown to produce substantial short-term gains in children’s early language, literacy, mathematics, and social skills as well as long-term effects on a wide range of school, health, and behavioral outcomes that persist into adulthood, as has been demonstrated in studies produced by numerous scholars.
(2) The Desired Results Developmental Profile was implemented in 2000 and is a formative assessment instrument developed by the State Department of Education for young children and their families to be used to inform instruction and program development. It is also a requirement for compliance with state preschool contracts. The Desired Results Developmental Profile for preschool children currently contains 54 areas of inquiry within eight domains. Beginning in the 2016–17 fiscal year, the State Department of Education will require contractors to cover the five “fundamental” domains the department indicates are research-based predictors of school readiness and success and that are consistent with the National Education Goals Panel and the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge. The remaining domains may be used by a contractor voluntarily. This “preschool fundamental view” will reduce the number of assessment measures from 54 to 29. The State Department of Education has responded to concerns from the field that the Desired Results Developmental Profile is time consuming and has revised the assessment to ensure that it is a more effective formative assessment for children.
(3) California’s investments in early learning should focus on gains in school and behavioral outcomes that support low-income California children, English learners, and children of color advancing with their peers.
(4) One feature of high-quality early learning programs is alignment with the K–3rd grade education that preschoolers will soon enter. Preschool to 3rd grade alignment is critical in the areas of standards, curriculum, instructional practice, professional development, family engagement, and assessments.
(5) California does not have a clear definition for what pupils need to know to be ready for kindergarten. Without this definition, the impact of California’s early learning programs on school readiness is unknown. California invests over $1.6 billion in state preschool and transitional kindergarten, and there is no information on what percentage of pupils start school ready for success.
(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to
begin to shift the role of the state from a compliance-based early learning system to one that focuses on child outcomes. The first step in this process is to mandate the State Department of Education to conduct a study for establishing a kindergarten readiness definition to be considered for adoption by the State Board of Education by July 1, 2018.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8203.3 of the Education Code is amended to read:

 (a) (1) The department shall develop prekindergarten learning development guidelines. The guidelines shall focus on preparing four- and five-year-old children for kindergarten, based on current science that reflects how publicly funded programs can close the school readiness gap.
(a)  On or   (2)  before June 30, 1999, the State Department of Education shall develop prekindergarten learning development guidelines. The development of these guidelines shall be funded from funds appropriated for this purpose in the Budget Act of 1998. The guidelines shall focus on preparing four- and five-year-old children for kindergarten. The guidelines shall  The guidelines developed under this section shall  identify appropriate developmental milestones for each age, how to assess where children are in relation to the milestones, and suggested methods for achieving the milestones. In addition, the guidelines shall identify any basic beginning skills needed to prepare children for kindergarten or first grade, and methods for teaching these basic skills. The guidelines shall be articulated with the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education  state board  for kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive. The State Department of Education  department  may contract with an appropriate public or private agency to develop the guidelines.
(b) In future expenditure plans for quality improvement activities, the State Department of Education  department  shall include funding for periodically updating the guidelines consistent with academic and performance standards and relevant research, broadly distributing the guidelines, and providing education, outreach, and training services to implement the guidelines.
(c) Programs funded by the State Department of Education  department  under Article 6 (commencing with Section 8230), Article 7 (commencing with Section 8235), and Article 8 (commencing with Section 8240) shall use the prekindergarten learning development guidelines developed pursuant to this section.

SEC. 3.

 Section 8203.7 is added to the Education Code, to read:

 (a) On or before March 1, 2017, the department shall convene the California Committee for Kindergarten Readiness stakeholder group to evaluate and develop recommendations on what constitutes kindergarten readiness. On or before January 1, 2018, the committee shall submit to the state board and the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature a kindergarten readiness definition that has clear benchmarks for skills that are predictive of later success in academics and social-emotional and executive functioning skills as evidenced by current research. The department may contract with an appropriate public or private agency for purposes of developing a kindergarten readiness definition.
(b) The California Committee for Kindergarten Readiness shall be composed of the following 10 members:
(1) The president of the state board, or his or her designee.
(2) The chair of the California Children and Families Commission, or his or her designee.
(3) The Superintendent, or his or her designee.
(4) The chair of the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care, or his or her designee.
(5) An expert on early childhood brain development.
(6) An expert on kindergarten readiness standards.
(7) A preschool teacher.
(8) An expert on dual language learners.
(9) An expert on family engagement and support.
(10) A kindergarten teacher.
(c) The members specified in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (b) shall be cochairs of the committee.
(d) This section is repealed on January 1, 2019.