Indiana pre-K program exacerbates unequal access

INDIANAPOLIS – Statehouse Republicans love to crow about Indiana’s “burgeoning” state-funded preschool program. Fact is, the program is fueling inequality where some Hoosier kids have access and some don’t.

More than 70 percent of Indiana’s counties have seen zero pre-K investment from the state. In nine Indiana counties, there are zero high-quality pre-K programs. In a recent report, Indiana ranked second to last in access to quality preschool.

From Early Learning Indiana Policy Brief: Indiana Lags Behind In Pre-K Access

The analysis also finds that Indiana is ranks 43rd out of 44 states that offer state-funded pre-K programming and is the only state with eligibility standards tied to work and education requirements.

“Access to high-quality, state-funded pre-K should not stop at a county line,” writes Dr. Karen Ruprecht, Early Learning Indiana’s Director of Research and Practice and briefing author. “Much like roads, pre-K should be treated as a critical piece of our state’s infrastructure and economy, a piece that helps ensure our future success.”

 

High quality preschool is a critical foundation in developing Indiana’s skilled workforce. The uneven distribution of state resources is unfairly putting some Hoosier four-year-olds at a disadvantage. So what are Governor Holcomb and Statehouse Republicans doing to address this shortfall? How are they equipping providers with the tools they need to become high-quality options? When will Governor Holcomb and Statehouse Republicans admit their approach is leaving some kids behind and commit to a statewide model?

 

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