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Arkansas educators say program will boost entire state's success
One study that tracks ABC participants shows that low income students who enroll do better in school than children with the same socioeconomic status who didn't go to preschool.
"We've got about 300 or 400 kids on the waiting list, so there's still a need," he said.
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Rollins said the first local children who enrolled following the statewide pre K reboot are now in high school. Citing research in other states with increased access, he is confident that early investment will continue to pay off.
"It's helping us overcome the types of experiences that children in poverty sometimes bring to school," Rollins said.
"It's the difference in daylight and dark in those kids being prepared for school," he said.
Last year, Adidas Eqt Guidance 93 King Push 600 children one out of every three 4 year olds were enrolled in the preschool program. Rollins said this year, the district was able to expand and serve 840 students.
SPRINGDALE, ARK. Nearly 10 years after the Springdale, Ark., school district expanded its pre K program Mens Adidas High Tops Ebay
But Rollins is not yet satisfied.
ABC started in the early 1990s but limped along until a major funding increase and reboot supported by the Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee and a mostly Democratic General Assembly. Funding and access continued to grow under Huckabee's successor, Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, and now serves more than 25,000 children in 98 percent of districts.
A 2008 study, "An Economic Analysis of Pre K in Arkansas," commissioned by Pre Adidas High Tops Shoes For Girls
Under Rollins' leadership, the 21,000 student Springdale district in northwest Arkansas quickly embraced the pre K program reboot and pushed to open as many classrooms as possible. The state pays about 60 percent of the cost, and the rest is matched by the school district.
Early childhood education has been widely embraced in Arkansas as a way to lift the educational attainment level and success of the entire state. The statewide program, called Arkansas Better Chance or ABC, specifically targets children in families who straddle the poverty line and are mostly likely to go without quality preschool.
He said pre K helps set children up to be successful, but the work doesn't stop there. Nearly 70 percent of students live in poverty, and there is a high concentration of immigrant families who grew up speaking a language other than English.
"As long as you have children in poverty, you're going to need a system of support," he said. "Pre K is a great foundation."
K Now, shows that increasing the state investment in pre K would produce significant savings to the state's education, child welfare and criminal justice system. While it didn't take into account the financial benefits to participating children and their families, it did show the state's investment would return at least $1.58 for every dollar spent.
The longtime school leader said he was swayed by the volume of research showing that preschool helps at risk students gain the social, emotional and basic academic skills needed for school success.
Superintendent Jim Rollins pointed out the biggest results:
and ramped up support for its young and mostly impoverished families, the effort is paying off.
as a result of pre K. Third grade reading we can attribute so much growth to pre K," Rollins said. "We're seeing academic readiness and movement toward grade level readiness in reading, and that's attributable to the pre K model."
Rollins said he believes spending money in the early years has reduced the amount of academic interventions required later, but the district has not researched that specifically.
Rollins said the preschool program engages parents in the school environment from the beginning and provides parenting resources and other help staying on track throughout the early grades.
"There is a strong correlation between students who graduate high school and go to pre K," he said.
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