Pre-K Task Force Recommendations
In 2012, 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. That year, the Pre-K Task Force launched a ten-year campaign, now approaching its eighth year, to expand Alabama’s high-quality, state-funded First Class Pre-K program to reach all families that wish to enroll their children.
CLICK HERE to view the complete Pre-K Task Force recommendations (PDF), as presented to the 2019 Alabama Legislature.
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 $122.8 million. In 2012, just six percent of Alabama’s four-year-olds were enrolled in the program. In the 2019-20 school year, approximately 38% of Alabama’s four-year-olds are currently served. The Task Force will continue to advocate for incremental increases in state funding until the First Class Pre-K program is fully funded to reach 70% of four-year-olds in Alabama.
In addition to the increased funding, the Task Force recommendations include: continuing the “diverse delivery” of First Class Pre-K classrooms in public schools, Head Start and private programs (including childcare and faith-based centers); requiring that all First Class Pre-K providers adhere to the program’s quality standards; and, prioritizing new classrooms for students most at-risk of school failure.
For thirteen years in a row, Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program has been ranked the number one state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the country for quality by the independent National Institute for Early Education Research. Studies by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama and UAB have found that students that participate in Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program consistently outperform their peers in reading and math on state assessments. Additional studies nationally have found that students that attend a high-quality pre-k program are more likely to graduate from high school and find success in the workforce. They are also less likely to commit a crime or rely on social welfare programs as adults.