Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds gets high marks in a new national report.
The National Institute for Early Education Research says Alabama is one of only four states with pre-kindergarten programs that meet all the institute's quality standards. But the report says access is very limited in Alabama, with only 6 percent of 4-year-olds being served during the 2012-2013 school year.
Alabama's voluntary pre-kindergarten program is expected to see a roughly 40 percent increase thanks to increased funding.
Commissioner of the Department of Children's Affairs, Jeana Ross, told AL.com (http://bit.ly/12lVDg7) Monday that grant funding has helped state officials to form pre-kindergarten programs at 93 new schools.
Alabama's governor is proposing an education budget that gives small increases to all levels of education from kindergarten through college.
Gov. Robert Bentley unveiled his recommended budgets Wednesday. His education budget includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for public school employees and a substantial expansion of Alabama's pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.
The governor is adding his voice to business and education leaders calling for an expansion of Alabama's small pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.
Gov. Robert Bentley says he wants to expand pre-K education and considers it more important than the Alabama Reading Initiative.
Bentley's comments to a Birmingham business group came less than a week after the State Board of Education called for an extra $5 million next year. A coalition of business leaders, educators and children's advocates is pushing for an even bigger increase.