Alabama’s Pre-K Program Ranked Best in Nation for 15th Straight Year

Pre K3

Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) ranks Alabama First Class Pre-K as the nation’s highest quality state pre-kindergarten program for the 15th consecutive year.

“Ensuring our youngest learners have a strong start to their educational journeys is important now, more than ever. Alabama continues to set the nationwide bar for our success with the Alabama First Class Pre-K program,” Ivey said in a statement.

Each year since 2017, Alabama First Class Pre-K has received increased support from the Education Trust Fund as recommended by the governor and approved by the Alabama Legislature.

Access to Pre-K grew to more than 34% of four-year-olds in the state while continuing to meet all 10 NIEER quality standards benchmarks in the 2019-2020 school year. The Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, which administers the First Class Pre-K program through the Office of School Readiness, requires all First Class Pre-K lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, at a minimum, and provides salary parity with K-3 teachers. Access for the 2020-2021 school year now stands as 37 %.

“Alabama has committed to investing in our youngest learners through the First Class Pre-K program, and those investments continue to be recognized on the national level,” Dr. Barbara Cooper, Secretary of Early Childhood Education said. “This was only made possible by continuous leadership from Governor Ivey and bipartisan legislative commitment to invest in quality early childhood education.”

Nationally, the State of Preschool 2020 annual report, based on 2019-2020 academic year data, finds just one third of four-year-olds are enrolled in public preschool programs—a decline of 4,296 over the previous year.

— Information from the Office of the Governor

Categories: Montgomery, News, Statewide