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Alabama First Class Pre-K ranked nation’s top program for 13th year in a row

Alabama’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program was named the highest quality state-funded pre-kindergarten program in the nation Wednesday for the 13th year in a row.

One of only three states, including Michigan and Rhode Island, Alabama meets or exceeds all 10of the benchmarks measured by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) to determine a program’s quality.

NIEER’s 2018 State of Preschool Yearbook, which was released Wednesday, evaluated the quality of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs in use during the 2017-2018 school year. Throughout that year, Alabama enrolled an estimated 16,884 four-year-olds.

“We wish more states followed Alabama’s example of expanding pre-k enrollment with adequate funding, high quality, and demonstrated effectiveness,” said NIEER Founder and Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett, Ph.D. “Research finds the program yields long-term gains in achievement. If the state continues to invest, all Alabama’s young children can benefit in the near future.”

NIEER also categorized Alabama as one of nine “States on the Move” and highlighted the state’s devotion to increasing the funding to expand enrollment and ensuring pay equality for pre-k teachers.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey reacted to the news Wednesday and said the Alabama First Class Pre-K is “providing that solid ground for our youngest learners.”

“For a child to reach their fullest potential later in life, they must first build a strong foundation. I’m proud that Alabama First Class Pre-K is once again proving to be successful in providing that solid ground for our youngest learners,” Governor Ivey stated. “From our state’s historic investment in this program to Secretary Jeana Ross’s unmatched leadership, Alabama is setting the tone for early childhood education around the country. Other states know that Alabama’s students are getting off to a very strong start, and if they follow Alabama’s lead, then they, too, can do the same for their students.”

Secretary of Early Childhood Education Jeana Ross also shared her excitement of the news.

“As Alabama continues to expand access to high-quality, voluntary pre-k for four-year-olds, the Department is committed to ensuring the highest quality early learning experiences,” Ross said. “With the support of the Alabama Legislature and the strong leadership of Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama continues to lead the nation in growth and quality. We are constantly working to develop and implement policies that support program quality in early childhood settings.”

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

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