EarlyStories has spent a lot of time looking at South Dakota, a state that has consistently shunned providing any state money for pre-kindergarten. That’s because the voices against pre-school in the state — one of just 10 that doesn’t provide any pre-kindergarten — are extremely vocal. For example, a push to start a pilot program in South Dakota met with resistance as recently as last month, when opponents argued it would be a waste of money.
“Legislative bills that would provide authority, funding or standards for pre-kindergarten in the state have been defeated by legislators since 2006,” according a piece in the Rapid City Journal.
Indiana is another state that has had tremendous trouble getting any type of state funding for pre-kindergarten, and this week the Indianapolis Star took an in-depth look at the consequences. The story found students lag behind when they start school and often stay behind. Indiana is rated by the advocacy group Pre-K Now as one of the eight worst for “access to preschool, quality of programs and support for early childhood education.”
In Indiana, a stumbling block has been a lack of legislative support — in part because legislators have focused their efforts on all-day kindergarten. Some districts are using federal funds to provide for it.
As part of the story, The Star spoke with parents whose children are in early childhood programs to find out how and why they help children learn and get prepared for school. The story generated lots of comments, which help underscore why the issue of publicly funded pre-k is both so important — and so devisive.