We’ve produced a short video that takes viewers inside one of Alabama’s high-quality First Class Pre-K classrooms. It highlights why Alabama First Class Pre-K has been recognized as the nation’s highest quality pre-k program for ten years in a row (and counting!). Watch below.
Despite research that confirms that Alabama's First Class Pre-K graduates are more prepared for kindergarten than their peers, three out of every four four-year-olds in the state are still unable to participate in the program due to a lack of funding.
Nearly every school, church and child care center that provides First Class pre-k in the state tells us they have long waiting lists of interested families who want to enroll their child. That’s why we need your help.
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Here are some talking points and facts to help you draft your own personalized emails to your State Senator and Representative, letter to the editor, or social media posts:
I support the Pre-K Task Force Recommendations
- The Alabama School Readiness Alliance’s Pre-K Task Force is encouraging state lawmakers to increase funding for Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program by $20 million in the 2017 legislative session. This amount is needed to keep the state on track to meet our goal of fully funding First Class Pre-K by the 2022-2023 school year.
- A $20 million increase would raise the total amount of pre-k funding to $84.5 million.
- If approved, the increased appropriations, along with funding from year three of Alabama’s four-year federal Preschool Development Grant, would enable Alabama to add a minimum of 160 new First Class Pre-K classrooms and enroll approximately 2,880 more four-year-olds next fall.
- This would mean Alabama would have approximately 946 First Class classrooms in the 2017-2018 school year enrolling more than 17,000 four-year-olds. That’s nearly 30% of all four-year-olds in Alabama.
Alabama students who participate in the state’s First Class Pre-K program are more prepared for kindergarten than their peers.
- The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama analyzed student achievement through the sixth grade and found that those who participated in Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program consistently outperformed their peers in reading and math on state assessments.
- The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education also reports that Alabama First Class Pre-K alums have higher attendance rates, are less likely to require special education placement and are less likely to repeat a grade than children that did not participate in the program.
- Additional studies nationally have found that students that participate in a high-quality pre-k program are more likely to graduate from high school and find success in the workforce. They are also less likely to commit a crime or rely on social welfare programs as adults.
Funding for Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program is made available to any program in the state that provides high-quality pre-k to four-year-olds.
- Alabama First Class Pre-K classrooms are found in public and private schools, child care centers, faith-based centers and head starts.
- State grants are awarded to new and exisiting pre-k sites to support quality.
- Voluntary enrollment is limited due to a lack of state funding.
In the 2016-2017 school year, only 25 percent of four-year-olds across the state are able to voluntarily enroll in a First Class Pre-K classroom.
- There are waiting lists for enrollment at First Class Pre-K sites across the state.
- Last year, the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education received more than twice the amount of requests for new grants than they were able to fund.
- If fully implemented, the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force’s plan would ensure that every family in Alabama that wants to enroll their child in a First Class Pre-K program will be able to do so by the 2022-2023 school year.