State officials put spotlight on Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program as part of 2019 inauguration festivities

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Image via Twitter.com @GovernorKayIvey
Montgomery – In the days leading up to her historic inauguration, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey visited First Class Pre-K classrooms in four communities across the state: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Pine Hill.
At each stop, Ivey emphasized First Class Pre-K’s role in forming early literacy skills. She read to students and passed out copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillarby Eric Carle and Where the Wild Things Areby Maurice Sendak for students to take home.
In a press release announcing the tour, Governor Ivey said she was visiting First Class Pre-K classrooms across the state because, “Investing in the next generation is critical to our ability to keep Alabama growing. As we prepare for four more years of growing opportunities for Alabamians, I can’t think of a better place to begin than with our children’s literacy, ensuring they get a strong start.”
The governor is expected to push for additional funding to expand the state’s nationally-recognized pre-k program in the upcoming legislative session.
Ivey’s visits left a lasting impression on many of the students she encountered, including Violet Burke-Whitaker from Providence Elementary School in Huntsville. She told WAAY-TV, “Reading is not weird. It makes you smart.”
The state’s heralded program for four-years-olds was also highlighted by Alabama’s new Lieutenant Governor, Will Ainsworth.
In a wide-ranging inauguration speech illustrating his vision for the future, Ainsworth pointed to the First Class Pre-K program as one reason why he knows that Alabama can one day have a “world-class public education system.”
He said, “Our ‘First Class’ Pre-K program already leads the nation and provides a model that other states are following, so we should resolve to top every measure in our K-12, post-secondary, and four-year offerings, as well.”
The 2019 Alabama legislative session is expected to convene on March 5, 2019.

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The Alabama School Readiness Alliance is a statewide, nonprofit coalition advocating for the expansion of high-quality, voluntary pre-k. ASRA was formed in 2006 as a joint campaign of A+ Education PartnershipAlabama Giving

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