Since EarlyStories examines a wide range of pre-kindergarten coverage (there isn’t always a lot to choose from) it was nice to see a little item that probably means a whole lot more to the community in East Texas than a few lines convey.
The Kilgore News Herald reported that federal stimulus money will cover a funding shortfall and will allow the Kilgore school district to continue the program it has run in the past. The story notes that the stimulus money “will save approximately seven jobs for district employees.”
EarlyStories wishes that the paper would take a look at what this pre-k program meant to the community. How many children did it serve and how many would not have been able to come without the new funds? How important is it to families? Is there a waiting list? Is anyone tracking how well the students who come out of this program perform later on, and what difference it makes in their education?
It’s easy to report on numbers, far more difficult to find the story behind them. Budget cuts are forcing the cancellation of pre-k programs across the U.S. If a program is saved, it is worth looking at its value. The story notes that the stimulus money will allow the program to be run “as it has run in the past.”
Has it been well run, though? Valued? Appreciated? A little more reporting might yield a worthwhile story.