Sunday, January 29, 2012

More Attention and Funding for Preschools

CINCINNATI -- Preschool is moving to the head of the class when it comes to education funding.
Ohio in December won $70 million from the federal government’s $500 million Early Learning Race to the Top grants along with eight other states. It has joined a national movement to make preschool a top funding priority. The state plans to increase preschool offerings over the next several years to thousands of low-income youngsters while boosting quality standards for preschools.
Kentucky also will increase early childhood efforts despite failing to land the Race to the Top grant. One initiative will create a statewide kindergarten readiness test for as early as 2012 or 2013 to help schools identify children who need help, and there are plans to expand state funding for preschool for more families, said Lisa Gross, state education spokeswoman.
Both states are part of a national movement to make quality preschool available to “high-need” students who live in poverty, have developmental disabilities or are learning English. Without preschool education, child advocates say, youngsters from low-income families start kindergarten as much as 18 months behind their peers in academic and social development.

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