California’s K-12 Enrollment Is Down, but Transitional Kindergarten Is Growing Like a Weed

Amid a K-12 public school enrollment drop, California’s transitional kindergarten population is doubling in size, but several local districts are struggling to find enough transitional kindergarten teachers to maintain a proper student -teacher ratio.

Recently released data by the state Education Department show that total K-12 enrollment in California public schools for 2023-24 was 5,837,690 students–a decrease of 0.25 percent or 15,000 students from the previous year.

However, the department points out in a May 16 statement that the number of children enrolled in transitional kindergarten–which serves as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten for some children–rose from 75,465 during the 2021–22 school year to 151,491 in 2023–24.

The department credits the growth to “significant investment in early learning, including $500 million in universal kindergarten planning and implementation grants as well as a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the programs and state-level support of transitional kindergarten expansion across the state.”

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