Pre-K Task Force Recommendations
In 2011, the Alabama School Readiness Alliance brought together prominent statewide leaders from the business, education, medical, legal, philanthropic, military and child advocacy communities to form the Pre-K Task Force. The Task Force is co-chaired by business leaders Mike Luce and Bob Powers (pictured).
In 2012, the Pre-K Task Force launched a ten-year campaign, now in its fourth year, to expand Alabama’s high-quality, state-funded First Class Pre-K program to reach all families that wish to enroll their children on a voluntary basis.
CLICK HERE to view the Task Force Recommendations, updated for the 2016 Legislative Session.
Since the Pre-K Task Force launched its recommendations in November of 2012, state leaders have grown the level of investment in Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program from $19 million to $64.5 million. In 2012, just six percent of Alabama’s four-year-olds were enrolled in the program. In the 2016-17 school year, approximately 25% (or one in four) four-year-olds will have the opportunity to attend First Class Pre-K.
The Task Force will continue to advocate for incremental increases in state funding until Alabama's First Class Pre-K program is fully funded at a level of $144 million.
In addition to advocating for increased state pre-k investments, the Task Force will also continue to recommend that state investments in First Class Pre-K:
- prioritize expanding access to students at-risk of school failure;
- encourage and leverage the use of local and private matching funds;
- are sustainable and based on the true costs of a high-quality program; and
- are guided by data from a statewide school readiness assessment.
The Task Force supports the continued use of a “diverse delivery” grant structure for First Class Pre-K that creates high-quality, state-funded pre-k classrooms in both public schools and private programs (such as child care and faith-based centers).
The Task Force also recommends that the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (formerly called the Department of Children's Affairs) continue to improve coordination with the Alabama Department of Education in order to ensure that resources are used efficiently and that First Class Pre-K is aligned with K-12 learning standards, data systems, accountability and assessment.
As the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education expands access to First Class Pre-K, the ASRA Pre-K Task Force recommends that leaders maintain the ten evidence-based quality benchmarks measured annually by the National Institute for Early Education Research.
The Task Force also recommends that the Department continue efforts to enhance and measure the quality of First Class Pre-K. The quality of teaching should be regularly observed and student outcomes should be tracked over time through a high-quality, longitudinal program evaluation.