June 23, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas Pushes Bill To Raise Preschool Teacher Salaries

preschool
Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is pushing for higher preschool teacher salaries and more resources for early childhood education (ECE). (Thinkstock)

Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, D-Century City, aims to shore up preschool education in California with Assembly Bill 2125 (AB 2125), which proposes to increase teacher salaries and raise the reimbursement rates paid to early childhood education (ECE) providers.

The proposed bill, which is up for a vote, would effectively streamline ECE reimbursement rates across the State and aim to stabilize the market for preschool teachers.

“California needs an ECE system that benefits for our preschool-age kids and their parents, and encourages our state’s best preschool teachers to stay on the job by affording them better compensation than they now receive at high quality preschool around the state,” Ridley-Thomas stated.

Beyond ECE providers and preschool teachers, Ridley-Thomas added AB 2125, if passed and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, would also have a positive impact on children in their respective pre-kindergarten years.

“Our local schools are struggling to lower dropout rates and increase high school graduation rates. We must close our state’s persistent student achievement gap,” he said, adding ECE programs have a positive correlation with academic success between first and third grades. “If we focus our efforts on helping children learn what they need to know before entering kindergarten, we can help our students succeed academically and build upon their success through 12th grade.”

According to Ridley-Thomas’ office, the Assembly Committee on Appropriations approved AB 2125.

Should AB 2125 become law, Ridley-Thomas stated California’s preschools who provide ECE programs could earn more money per student. The increased funding, in turn, could be used to provide more pay for credentialed preschool teachers.

Credentialed preschool teachers earn about 50 percent less in their respective base compensation than their public school kindergarten teachers who have comparable education and training, Ridley-Thomas stated.

“We’ve took a big step in the direction of adequately funding our State’s preschools and making funds available to retain highly trained preschool teachers when the Committee on Appropriations – the Assembly’s chief fiscal committee and watchdog – moved diligently toward building an early care and education system in California that works,” Ridley-Thomas stated.

Sponsors of the bill included the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, and California Child Development Administrators Assoc.

Several ECE organizations Statewide also support AB 2125, including Advancement Project, California Assoc. of Urban League Executives, Child Care Resource Center, Compton Unified School District, First 5 Assoc. of California, Girls Club of Los Angeles, KinderCare Learning Centers, Los Angeles County Education Foundation, Los Angeles Urban League, Volunteers of America, YMCA Childcare Resource Services, and Zero to Three.

The bill passed the State Assembly by a 57 to 20 vote on May 28 and heads to the State Senate floor for consideration.

Should the bill receive the support of the State Senate, AB 2125 would then be on Brown’s desk for approval.

Ridley-Thomas represents the 54th Assembly District, which includes Century City and Cheviot Hills in addition to Westwood, Palms, Mar Vista, and Culver City, among other neighborhoods and cities.

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