The following comes from an Aug. 12 posting by Lori Arnold of the California Family Alliance.

August 15 marks the final chance for most bills to make it out of committee for the year. With Friday’s deadline looming, this week’s action in the Appropriations Committee is likely to mirror the Wii “Shooting Range” game where players take aim at their targets at a frenzied pace before time runs out. The Appropriations Committee, which considers the financial implications for most legislation, is generally the last stop before bills hit the full floor for their final vote.

The deadline is first of several in the coming weeks as the two-year legislative cycle draws to a close. After Friday, only conference committees and Rules committees can meet. The final deadline is Aug. 31, when all bills must clear the opposite chamber in order to advance to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

On the Senate Appropriations Committee side, lawmakers will consider a bill at the top of our current watchlist: Assembly Bill (AB) 1444 (Buchanan D-San Ramon), which makes kindergarten enrollment compulsory. Under the new law a child cannot enter first grade unless they complete kindergarten.

The bill is an affront to basic family rights. CFA knows that parents—not the government—are best suited to decide if their child is physically, emotionally and academically ready for kindergarten. In addition, the new bill is punitive by forcing parents who are not satisfied with state-run schools to pay for an extra year of private school tuition and accommodate a bureaucratic one-size-fits-all approach to education. The committee will hear the proposal on Thursday.

Two other bad education bills with hearings on Thursday include Senate Bill (SB) 192 and SB 1123, both focused on early childhood education and both authored by Carol Liu (Liu D-Glendale). They will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

The first bill, SB 192, encroaches on families by requiring a variety of activities, including child and family assessments that could result in referrals to human services organizations. It also funds professional development and career advancement opportunities, a boon to teachers at the expense of taxpayers. Like Buchanan’s bill, SB 1123 would expand “transitional” kindergarten while offering a host of “wraparound” services such as home visitations for low-income infants, toddlers and their parents.
While all three bills sound noble, each has the potential to further undermine the rights of parents.

To review other bills we are monitoring, click here.

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