On December 1, Governor Newsom announced announced the release of the state’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care. The plan, which builds on the work of recent efforts including the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission, the Lifting Children Out of Poverty Task Force, California’s Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8, and the Rate Reform Work Group, was billed as an implementation plan and includes 113 pages of detailed recommendations and a cost estimate of between two and twelve billion dollars.
The plan describes four main policy goals: (i) Unifying programs to improve access and equity, (ii) Enhancing educator competencies, incentivizing, and funding career pathways, and implementing supportive program standards, (iii) Unifying funding to advance equity and opportunity and (iv) Streamlining early childhood governance and administration to improve equity. Within these goals there are a large number of specific strategies including enhancing the state’s Paid Family Leave program, aligning the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and Transitional Kindergarten (TK) as part of a move towards universal pre-K, developing an integrated data system for early learning, and a single, tiered reimbursement system to support and reward higher quality programs.
The MPLEC is expected to play a significant role in guiding policy, legislative and buget development over its 10 year lifespan – which will include the ECE sector’s recovery from the effects of the COVID pandemic.