Kentucky's early childhood education system leaves lots to be desired, but advocates say progress is being made

08/11/2014 10:07 PM

As children around the state go back to school educators will begin assessing how much remedial work is needed to begin teaching new skills, but for some Kindergarteners who start off behind the learning curve remedial education may be a constant.

“The readiness results have come back showing that just under 50 percent of our entering Kindergarteners are well prepared for success in elementary school. So we have some work to do” said Brigette Ramsey, the associate executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

From educators, policy makers and advocates the case for early childhood education and intervention can’t be overstated. Study after study shows how dollars invested early in a child’s life save the state and taxpayers.

On Friday, Pure Politics broke down the call for reforms and how Kentucky’s youngest students are fairing — and what still needs work.

Ramsey said the state has improved in recent years in part by creating a definition for Kindergarten readiness in 2010 and Kindergarten pre-screenings which provides a look at how well prepared kids are for school.

“We’ve made lots of strides in the last few years in early childhood and we’ve benefited from lots of attention in 2000… to really make those initial gains,” she said.

The results of the Kindergarten Readiness screener show that less than half of all Kindergarteners show up to school ready to learn.

The goals for the state, Ramesy says, are not something that can be achieved in the next year. But rather something the next governor will inherit.

Ramsey says Kentucky will soon roll out a “full quality rating system” so parents and child care centers can access just how well schools are performing in the state — something other states have already done.

“That’s going to take everyone’s buy in, and valuing that information. But it’s also going to take — as we move forward with the system — increased funding to support quality,” Ramsey said.


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