Governor Robert Bentley mentioned bits of his education plans in the State of the State Tuesday night. He emphasized pre-k education.
The days before kindergarten are a vulnerable time for kids.
It’s part of the reason that pre-k programs exist — to let kids grow in a safe, productive environment.
Huntsville City Schools Deputy Superintendent Barbara Cooper explains, “All of the research demonstrates students who have an opportunity to participate in pre-k programs are able to really be put on a trajectory for success.”
It’s not fair for a kid to get derailed before they turn five.
So Huntsville City Schools has emphasized pre-k for the last three years. They’re up to 38 classrooms serving around 800 students.
Cooper notes, “In 2011 and ’12 we opened pre-k programs in January of that year. We opened just a few pre-k programs, and each year since 2011-12, we’ve expanded those programs.”
The governor made the case for more pre-k programs to all the legislative movers and shakers on Tuesday night, but Cooper makes a pretty compelling argument for this type of education herself, “I wish that people would understand that it absolutely is an academic strategy and an economic strategy. Investing in pre-k is absolutely the way to improve our schools, to improve our cities, to improve our country.”
So a little extra love from state leaders for programs like these could help the next generation of state leaders stay a step ahead of the game.
Huntsville City Schools currently has around 160 kids on a waiting list to get into to pre-k programs.
Madison City Schools have pre-k programs currently running. They actually just bought a new facility for them.
Madison County Schools currently rely on federally funded Title I programs. A spokesperson says state funding to expand would be welcome.