Only three states - Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma - offer all-day, pre-kindergarten programs for 4-year-olds.
Will Ohio's neighbor to the south be the fourth?
That's the long-term goal of a coalition of Kentucky education and social service groups, who will attempt to advance their cause in the coming months.
The groups don't expect to win full funding all at once. Instead, they'll work to expand state support for more families, and build toward the longer-term goal of voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds in Kentucky, with parents paying a portion of the cost.
Under existing law, Kentucky public school districts are required to provide pre-K services for every 4-year-old in a family with an income 150 percent of the poverty level, which in Kentucky is $20,650 for a family of four...
...Covington School Superintendent Jack Moreland said the success of his district's five-year-old program for all-day kindergarten showed that more pre-K programs could work, too. In January 2006, the district moved to all-day pre-K. At the end of their kindergarten year, the 132 students who had attended at least four months of all-day pre-K were tested for first-grade reading readiness.
The standard test is called Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. In one subtest, 89 percent of the students scored at grade level. In a second subtest, 90 percent were at grade level.
"The data shows youngsters coming out of those two programs are at or above reading levels, and that was our goal," Moreland said.
The report was unveiled at the annual conference of Pre-K Now, a public education and advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
Pre-K Now evaluates states' status in offering preschool. Kentucky, for example, has pre-K services for 29 percent of its 4-year-olds, while Ohio has services for only 4 percent. However, in rating the political climate for advancing the pre-K cause, Ohio outscores Kentucky with six of ten criteria met versus four of 10.
One huge benefit of the Cincinnati Public Schools Montessori Programs is that they offer full day classes for 4yr olds. By the way, all Cincinnati Public Schools have full-day kindergarten, something still not offered to children in some nearby school districts!
In the Montessori programs, the 4 and 5 year-olds share the same classroom. It is not free for the 4yr olds, ($5,400 full day, 2,800 half day, free for Head Start qualifying families), but it is a great curriculum that helps transition the kids to kindergarten.