Governors in TN, VA Defend Pre-K Programs
Tennessee governor Phil Bredsen (D) says it would be a "terrible, terrible mistake" if the state legislature rejects his plan for an additional $25 million in pre-k spending, which would move the state towards universally available pre-k for all four-year olds by 2011. Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey (R) says the program is too expensive in a year when the state faces a $182 million shortfall. Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who is dealing with a $1.8 million budget shortfall, is fighting to protect his $25 million plan to expand the state pre-k program to cover all four-year olds eligible for free and reduced school lunches. [slideshow]
Plan in Georgia to Extend Pre-K to 3 Year Olds
Debate is heating up in Georgia about a plan to extend the state’s universal pre-k program to include three-year-olds. Democratic lawmakers in the state house proposed using $25 million from the state lottery fund to create pre-kindergarten classes for 5,000 three-year-olds. More than 72,000 four-year-olds are enrolled in the state’s pre-k program, the nation's oldest universal pre-k program.
Pre-K Increases Economic Mobility
A report from the Brookings Institution finds that children who attend pre-k have greater potential for economic mobility. Based on data from the Perry Preschool Project, HeadStart, and Chicago Child Parent Centers, the report finds that children who attended hihg-quality pre-k programs had significantly lower pregnancy rate, drug use and addiction problems, and juvenile court arrests than those that did not. These characteristics lead to higher school performance and can impact "important developmental milestones related to economic mobility."