MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Gov. Kay Ivey says the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has ranked 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 news release.
Alabama First Class Pre-K has received increased support from the Education Trust Fund each year since 2017 as recommended by the governor and approved by the Alabama Legislature.
The governor’s office says access to pre-K grew to more than 34% of 4-year-olds in the state while continuing to meet all 10 NIEER quality standards benchmarks in the 2019-2020 school year.
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,” said Barbara Cooper, secretary of Early Childhood Education. “This was only made possible by continuous leadership from Governor Ivey and bipartisan legislative commitment to invest in quality early childhood education.”
“Alabama continues to be a national leader in high quality pre-K, even expanding access during the pandemic,” said NIEER founder and senior co-director Steven Barnett. “The state’s strong investment in teachers and continuous improvement will produce a lifetime of benefits for the state’s young children and its taxpayers.”