Advocates Celebrate Expansion of Alabama First Class Pre-K
May 31, 2017
More than 2,100 additional four-year-olds will be able to enroll in a high-quality, voluntary Alabama First Class Pre-K program by September 1, according to Governor Ivey’s announcement that the state will add 122 new First Class classrooms for the upcoming school year.
For 11 years in a row, Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program, which is managed by the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, has been ranked the number one state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country for quality by the National Institute for Early Childhood Education. The new classrooms will increase the overall size of Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program to 938 classrooms. However, that is only enough classrooms to enroll approximately 16,884 four-year-olds, or 28 percent of all four-year-olds.
Click here to read Governor Ivey’s announcement.
Click here for the list of New First Class Pre-K grants.
Click here to watch Alabama's four-year-olds celebrate their program's #1-in-the-nation quality ranking!
In a joint statement, the Co-Chairs of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance’s business-led Pre-K Task Force, Bob Powers and Mike Luce, welcomed today’s announcement by Governor Ivey and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education:
“The continued expansion of Alabama’s high-quality, voluntary First Class Pre-K program is tremendous news for the hundreds of families that will gain access to the program this fall. Thanks to increased state investments, the percentage of Alabama four-year-olds enrolled in the program will grow from 25 to 28 percent,” said Bob Powers and Mike Luce, the co-chairs of the Alabama School Readiness Alliance Pre-K Task Force. “We are grateful that Governor Ivey and state lawmakers continue to prioritize funding for the expansion of the First Class Pre-K program. We hope they will continue to do so until all families across Alabama that want to enroll their child in a First Class Pre-K classroom are able to do so.”
Mike Luce is Vice Chairman of Harbert Management in Birmingham. Bob Powers is the President of The Eufaula Agency. They are joined on the ASRA Pre-K Task Force by more than 40 prominent leaders from the business, education, civic, medical, legal, philanthropic, military and child advocacy communities.
In 2012, the ASRA Task Force launched a ten-year campaign, now in its fifth year, to advocate for incremental increases in First Class Pre-K until the program is fully funded in the 2022-2023 school year.
Earlier this month, Alabama Lawmakers appropriated a total of $77.5 million for Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program in the 2018 Education Trust Fund Budget. ASRA has estimated that the state would need to appropriate a total level of funding of $144 million to give every Alabama family the opportunity to voluntarily enroll their four-year-old in a First Class Pre-K program.
The Alabama School Readiness Alliance advocates for the expansion of high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten. ASRA works to ensure that pre-k is a continuing priority for Alabama’s children, parents, community leaders, legislators and governing officials. ASRA is a collaborative effort of A+ Education Partnership, Alabama Giving, Alabama Partnership and VOICES for Alabama’s Children.