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Legislators Might Shift Focus To Preschool Education

Children eat a special snack on the last day of school at a preschool in Portland.

State Legislators may shift their focus in this year‘s session away from elementary and high schools to look at preschool. Lawmakers in both parties have said it may be time to look at ways to make it easier for students to attend preschool.

Republican Senator Randy Head has introduced a bill to start a pilot program to encourage preschool reading programs. Head notes the state now requires students to remain in third grade until they‘re reading at grade level.

Head‘s proposal would not dictate any specific reading program, but he says it would enable the state to track which programs produce better results.

“It identifies and rewards effective preschool education for literacy. We would be able to use this data, which would be reported to the state, to determine which approaches are working best, and then hopefully be in position to take the next step,” Head says.

Head‘s introduced the bill twice before without getting a hearing. He says he is hopeful it will fare better now that the state has completed the implementation of full-day kindergarten.

The bill does not specify a funding amount, but does suggest drawing the money from the Build Indiana fund rather than general-fund dollars.

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