Committed to expanding high-quality,
voluntary pre-k in Alabama  

Click here for a printable one-page summary of the 2022 Pre-K Task Force Recommendations. Click here for the list of Pre-K Task Force members.

Full 2022 Pre-K Task Force Recommendations:

We support Governor Ivey’s proposal to increase state investments in First Class Pre-K by $22.5 million during the 2022 Legislative Session. A $22.5 million increase would add approximately 125 new classrooms and expand enrollment from 42 to 45 percent of Alabama’s four-year-olds. It would also support apprenticeship programs and other efforts to recruit teachers.

In addition to a $22.5 million state funding increase for 2022-2023, our Task Force proposes the following recommendations to ensure that First Class Pre-K reaches at least 70 percent of Alabama’s four-year-olds by 2025-2026, while maintaining the program’s benchmarks for quality and accountability:

  1. We recommend that First Class Pre-K maintain the ten research-based quality benchmarks measured annually by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

  2. We recommend that the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education continue efforts to measure First Class Pre-K quality and outcomes through teacher and student assessments and longitudinal evaluation.

  3. We support the continued use of a “diverse delivery” grant structure for First Class Pre-K that creates high-quality, state-funded pre-k classrooms in public schools, Head Start and community-based settings (such as child care, nonprofit and faith-based centers). We recommend strategies and policies that result in more First Class Pre-K classrooms being placed in community-based settings.

  4. We recommend that the state invest in programs to improve the quality of the existing child care infrastructure, which has been severely challenged during the COVID pandemic. Full pre-k expansion will rely on a strong child care system that is ready and equipped to meet First Class Pre-K standards.

  5. We recognize that parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. With that in mind, we recommend that First Class Pre-K continue to incorporate evidence-based best practices for meaningfully engaging and strengthening families.

  6. We recommend funding and encouraging partnerships to provide high-quality after school and summer programming so that working parents can enroll their children in First Class Pre-K.

  7. We recommend that the Alabama Department of Early Childhood convene two- and four-year universities, expand scholarships and expand apprenticeship opportunities to ensure that Alabama has enough teachers to reach pre-k expansion goals.

  8. We support continued pay parity for lead First Class Pre-K teachers with the state K-12 salary matrix. First Class Pre-K funding formulas for providers should cover the full cost of teacher salary parity with public K-12 education (including benefits).

  9. We recommend establishing a competitive salary and benefits for First Class Pre-K’s auxiliary teachers, who are required to have a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential or have nine hours of child development coursework. State leaders can work with the CDA Council and other experts to establish a pay scale for auxiliary teachers based on experience. First Class Pre-K funding formulas for providers should be amended to cover increased auxiliary teacher salaries. 

  10. We recommend funding and partnering with school systems, Head Start and other partners to provide transportation, where needed, so children can get to First Class Pre-K programs. This is especially important in Alabama’s rural communities. 

  11. We recommend exploring funding streams for investing in the physical infrastructure for pre-k expansion (buildings with appropriate square footage, age-appropriate classrooms, etc.). Sources of funding could include bonds and other avenues such as local funds, federal American Rescue Plan funding, federal infrastructure funding and business partnerships.