Arkansas expands pre-k, increases student achievement

A new report from Arkansas Advocates for Children shows that the expansion of state-funded, high-quality, pre-k in Arkansas yielded significant gains in school readiness and student achievement. State leaders expanded the Arkansas Better Chance (ABC) pre-k program to reach 44% of four-year-olds, resulting in the following improvements:
  • ABC Pre-K students scored higher in language at the end of kindergarten and achieved better math and early literacy scores at the end of first grade.
  • Attending the ABC program at age four yields 31% more growth in children’s vocabulary at kindergarten entry, compared to preschool education experiences they would have had without attending ABC.
  • Children who participated in ABC scored higher on a test of their early math skills—with 37% more growth at kindergarten entry.
  • The ABC program also had a positive impact on children’s understanding of print concepts, more than doubling growth over the year (116%) in print awareness scores.
  • The positive impacts of quality pre-k carry into elementary school, as indicated by improved benchmark exam scores for all Arkansas students. For example, the percentage of third-graders with an advanced score in math increased 37 percent (from 23 percent to 60 percent) between 2005 and 2011.

New CCSSO report highlights pre-k leadership from top state education officials 

Alabama Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice is part of a growing group of chief state school officers prioritizing high-quality pre-k as a strategy for reducing the achievement gap.  “Confronting the Quiet Crisis,” a new report from the Council of Chief State School Officers, highlights the strides that visionary education leaders in other states have made to advance early learning.  The report features successful school readiness initiatives pursued by state education agency leaders in Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.  Each state utilizes its own approach, and Alabama will no doubt forge its own path.  But, much can be learned from leading pre-k states as we move ahead.   
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Georgia pre-k cutting retention rates, study shows

By Nancy Badertscher
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A new study shows Georgia's lottery-funded pre-kindergarten program is paying off, with fewer students being held back a grade, dropping out of school and landing in special education classes.

The study, released Tuesday by the nonprofit Southern Education Foundation Inc., puts a dollar value on the most noticeable of the trends -- 10,000 fewer students on average are having to repeat the same grade each year.

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Pre-k for Georgia’s children is no educational luxury

What if Georgia’s state lawmakers could create an education program today that would effectively help young children become lifelong learners, cost the state not a single penny of tax revenues, and actually reduced other tax expenditures in the state budget? It isn’t a dream and the program doesn’t need to be created. It already exists: Georgia pre-kindergarten.

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Op-Ed: Invest in pre-k for long-term gains

By Stephanie Blank and Mindy Binderman

Georgia legislators face the tough task of steering our state out of fiscal crisis while assuring our future economic competitiveness. A key to this mission is deciding how best to ensure the sustainability and positive results of Georgia pre-k and the HOPE Scholarship.

While pre-k is not in the spotlight as often as HOPE, lawmakers should recognize that early learning is the foundation for a strong, competitive workforce.

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