Indiana still in pre-K limbo
Originally published May 4, 2013
Monday, May 06, 2013 5:00 AM
At some point, Indiana will get its act together when it comes to early education.
This year isn't it.
The General Assembly passed on an opportunity to take a baby step toward putting children into preschool programs that will help get them ready for kindergarten.
House Bill 1004, approved by the Indiana House on a 93-6 vote, would have set aside $7 million each of the next two years for an early childhood education pilot program for children of roughly 1,000 low-income families. If the program had worked, the plan was to come back for an expanded program in two years.
HB 1004 died, though, in the Senate, where there were concerns about whether the state could swing the long-term cost. (Never mind that legislators were more free with money for an expansion of the state's private school voucher system.)
So Indiana remains one of 10 states without a preschool program in what has to be one of the bigger disappointments of the 2013 session.
With President Barack Obama's plan for preschool education stalled, the task falls to those willing to support it.
In Jefferson County there are efforts by our public schools to provide pre-K instruction. And there are several reputable private centers. Still, too many children fall through the cracks and get no formal instruction before they step into the kindergarten classroom for the first time.
The goal is to help parents help their kids with what they should know before the first day in a classroom.
Getting kids ready for school is a tall order. The longer the state puts off preschool funding, the longer it will be before Indiana's schools are really ready to compete.