State Assembly committee holds hearing in Fresno on early childhood education

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The hearing by the State Assembly's Blue Ribbon Committee on Early Childhood Education heard from parents like Reba Manning who said an inability to find child care held her back.

"We want to work, we want to further our education but if we don't know what to ask for we can't get ahead."

The committee, chaired by the Speaker of the State Assembly, Anthony Rendon and co-chaired by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty of Sacramento, heard from parents and educators, including Fresno County School Superintendent Jim Yovino.

"If we want every child reading by 3rd grade, if we want every child graduating from high school college or career ready, it's a simple thing, early care education will provide that, we know that."

Manuel Pastor, a researcher from USC, said the biggest problem in California and Fresno County is reaching the growing minority community.

"Fresno's current demography of its (age) 0 to 5 population is even more people of color than the state as a whole with 65 percent and about two-thirds of those, latino."

The goal of the hearing is to gather information to build support for more state funding for early childhood services, which remain below pre-recession levels.

Reba Manning says she hopes something more can be done.

"So I am telling my story to whoever will listen in hopes of creating a better system that honors children and supports parents to work and go to school."

This was the 6th hearing of the panel held in various places around the state.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.