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Recent early education news and updates

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Legislators weigh recommendations to expand pre-kindergarten


November 2, 2017
Jess Feldman
Capitol News Service

The state’s income threshold for families to qualify for free pre-kindergarten should be increased by more than 60%, a state workgroup told a legislative panel Tuesday.

The Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families, weighing universal schooling for 4-year-olds acknowledged, the need for an increase in funding for the early education program statewide. Maryland’s Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education has also tentatively agreed to recommend universal pre-K.

A workgroup formed to study universal access to pre-kindergarten was charged in April with presenting a report to the governor and the General Assembly by December.

The state’s education department, presenting the workgroup’s findings, told the panel that universal, high quality, full-day pre-kindergarten should be accessible to all 4-year-old children through a variety of programs and providers with a combination of public and private funding.

The legislative committee also took into account a report published in January 2016 by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, a consulting firm in Colorado, that highlighted the need to offer more access to prekindergarten in Maryland and increase the number of high-quality spots available to serve 80% of the state’s 4-year-olds.