A "college and career ready" workforce is critical to Alabama’s ability to grow and attract the strong business and industry that will ensure our state’s economic vitality. Evidence has shown us that high-quality early childhood education is critical to this success and should be made available to all children in Alabama.

Research shows that the academic “achievement gap” begins as a school readiness gap. Moreover, brain science tells us that the first five years of a child’s life establish either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for everything that follows—and getting things right the first time is easier and less expensive than trying to fix them when a child is older.

High-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten (pre-k) for four-year-olds is an effective early childhood education program that prepares children to succeed socially, emotionally and academically in kindergarten and beyond.
 

Research consistently shows that children that attend high-quality pre-k are more likely to:
  • Enter kindergarten ready to learn

  • Read at grade level by third grade

  • Graduate from high school

  • Go on to college and have higher earnings

 
Studies also show that children that attend pre-k are also less likely to:

  • Be held back in school

  • Require costly remedial and special education

  • Engage in criminal activity

  • Rely on social welfare programs
     

That is why economists estimate that every $1 invested in high-quality pre-k saves taxpayers between $2 and $17 later on by reducing the need for remedial and special education, welfare, and social and criminal justice services.

SOURCES

Burkam, D., & Lee, V. (2002). Inequality at the starting gate: Social background differences in achievement as children begin school . Economic Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.

Shonkoff, J.P., & Phillips, D.A. (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Committee for Economic Development (2006). The economic promise of investing in high-quality preschool: Using early education to improve economic growth and the fiscal sustainability of states and the nation. Washington, D.C.

Wat, A. (2007). Dollars and Sense: A Review of Economic Analyses of Pre-K. Pre-K Now, Washington, D.C.