Robert Rivas Introduces Legislation to Address Racial Disparities in Early Learning and Care Programs

Friday, February 12, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) announced Assembly Bill 568, which will establish a statewide dashboard that consolidates racial health, access, enrollment, and exclusion data to identify and tackle the state’s equity gaps in early learning and care (ELC) programs. Current data is scattered over dozens of county, state, and privately owned databases, making data nearly impossible to access and interpret in a timely manner for policymakers to use.

“All children, regardless of racial ethnic background, should have equal access to high-quality early learning and care programs,” Asm. Rivas said. “From graduation rates to academic achievement, ELC programs have a profound beneficial impact on a child’s subsequent educational trajectory. However, with the little data that we do have access to, it points to a troubling fact—Black and Latino children face disproportionate exclusion from high-quality ELC programs in California. AB 568 grants us the tools, as legislators, to pinpoint and address the root causes that promulgate the racial gaps in our state’s ELC programs.”

AB 568 is sponsored by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) and the Advancement Project, a racial justice organization working to expand educational opportunities for California’s children. In addition to the data dashboard, AB 568 will establish a process where families will be able to submit complaints on discrimination and exclusion practices in ELC programs to the state.

“Equitable access to high-quality early learning is essential to closing the academic achievement and graduation gaps that exist between races and ethnic groups,” said SCCOE Superintendent Mary Dewan. “We are proud to sponsor Assemblymember Rivas's bill that seeks to address systemic inequities in early learning and care.”