Advocates call for new investments into high-quality Pre-K - WRBL

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Advocates call for new investments into high-quality Pre-K

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On the heels of the Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's "State of the State" address this evening, the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force is calling for an additional $12.8 million dollars to be pumped into the state's pre-k program. The additional funds would help the state open approximately 140 new classrooms serving an additional 2,500 students. Currently there are 310 classrooms statewide and 5,500 students.

"Since the legislature approved and the governor signed into law the increased pre-k funding last year, new state-based research was released that once again proves that high-quality pre-k works," said Mike Luce, president and COO of Harbert Management and a co-chair of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance's Pre-K Task Force. "The research showed that First Class closes the achievement gap by 25 percent and that gains made in pre-k persist through the sixth grade. Knowing what we know about the positive and lasting effects of quality pre-k, it is easy to see why expanding First Class is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do."

The Task Force says despite being recognized by the National Institute for Early Education Research as the nation's highest-quality state-funded pre-k program, the voluntary First Class Pre-K program only reaches fewer than ten percent of Alabama's four-year-olds. Due to the recent funding increase and expansion, enrollment is up from just six percent of four-year-olds last year.  

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