Advocating for the expansion of high-quality pre-k in Alabama is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1) Look up your state legislators and their contact information. Click here to find your State Senator and State Representative.
2) Use the talking points and information below to draft an email to your state legislators. Include your home address in your email so that your legislators know you are a voter in their district.
3) Send your email to your State Senator and State Representative, and forward it to ASRA to let us know that you have taken action. Follow up with a phone call to your state legislators' offices to make sure that they received your email. Make sure to identify yourself as a voter in their district.
Thank you for your support of increased state investments in Alabama's high-quality, voluntary First Class Pre-K program. Please do all that you can to protect the $10 million increase for First Class Pre-K in Senate Bill 184 that was recommended by Governor Bentley and approved by the Senate and House.
Currently, First Class Pre-K is recognized as the #1 state-funded pre-k program in the country, but it reaches just 9 percent of Alabama's four-year-olds. This is unacceptable. A $10 million funding increase is a step in the right direction that would allow First Class Pre-K to reach an additional 1,800 four-year-olds next year. [Insert sentence about why pre-k matters to you].
[Include your home address]
Talking Points: 2014 Legislative Recommendation
I support the Alabama School Readiness Alliance's recommendation that leaders increase state investments in First Class Pre-K by $12.8 million during the 2014 Legislative Session. An additional $12.8 million is needed each year in the remaining nine years of our state's decade-long plan for fully funding First Class Pre-K. This plan was developed by the Alabama School Readiness Alliance's statewide, business-led Pre-K Task Force.
A $12.8 million increase for First Class Pre-K (Office of School Readiness) would allow 2,500 more four-year-olds to attend Alabama's high-quality, state funded pre-k program next year.
Click here to download the Pre-K Task Force's 2014 Legislative Recommendation (one-pager)
The short and long-term benefits of high-quality pre-k are documented by hundreds of studies conducted over the past 50 years. This impressive body of research finds 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 and go on to college. (Source: Committee for Economic Development, 2009.)
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. (Source: Pre-K Now, 2007.)
Alabama’s High-Quality, Voluntary First Class Pre-K Program
For 7 years, Alabama’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program has been ranked #1 in the country for its quality by the National Institute for Early Education Research. The Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs administers First Class Pre-K by providing and monitoring grants to support quality pre-k classrooms in a variety of settings.
Access to voluntary First Class Pre-K expanded in 2013 from 6 to 9 percent of four-year-olds, but too many children still lack access to high-quality, voluntary pre-k in Alabama.
Alabama’s Pre-K Results
Students in the voluntary First Class Pre-K program surpass national expectations in vocabulary assessments known to be predictive of later school achievement. (Source: Alabama Department of Children's Affairs, 2011.)
The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) found that First Class Pre-K closed the achievement gap for participating low-income students by 25 percent, through the sixth grade. (Source: PARCA, 2013.)
The Eufaula City Schools analyzed the performance of fourth through seventh grade students and found that graduates of high-quality pre-k outperformed their peers at every level. (Source: Eufaula City Schools, 2009.)
Pre-K Task Force Recommendations
ASRA's 2014 Legislative Recommendation is part of the ten-year vision for pre-k expansion developed in 2011 by the Alabama School Readiness Alliance's statewide Pre-K Task Force. The task force is designed to grow connections among existing pre-k champions and identify short- and long-term strategies to increase public investments in high-quality, voluntary pre-k in Alabama. In 2012, the Pre-K Task Force released a set of policy recommendations for the expansion of the state's First Class pre-k program.