Pre-K: FIRST Step in the Right Direction

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pre-k kidsAs a former Teach for America corps member, I recognize the importance of a quality education at all levels. Working as a middle school teacher for two years provided me with insights about the importance of a strong early education foundation.

Since many of my students were reading two or three levels below grade level and could not perform basic math functions, I was extremely concerned when Governor Deal  initially proposed to save money by cutting Pre-K to a half day.

Lawmakers, advocates, parents, and educators also voiced their concern that reducing pre-k to a half day would compromise the program’s quality. We were also concerned about the financial burden that would be placed on parents who would have to pay for after-school care. Furthermore, Pre-k providers would lose quality teachers due to the decreased funding.

I was pleased that Gov. Deal listened to parents, advocates, and educators who voiced their disagreement over his initial plan and came to a compromise that would allow Pre-K to maintain the full-day program. As with any compromise, sacrifices must be made, but I feel better knowing that 2,000 more children will have access to a quality full-day Pre-K program. 

We must remember that Pre-K is not daycare, but an academic learning experience that prepares children to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. I hope this experience encourages more research into the field of Pre-K so we can identify additional best practices, better understand Pre-K’s impact on long-term student achievement, and become more creative in identifying funding streams for the program.

Thank you, Gov. Deal, for listening to the people and preserving the opportunity for our most vulnerable citizens to have access to a quality early education program.

 For more information and analysis of Georgia’s Pre-K program visit:

 Department of Early Care and Learning–

Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)–

 Read the Southern Education Foundation’s Georgia Pre-K Update and Issue Brief-Full vs. Half Day Pre-K