NEWS: House Lawmakers Seek to Establish Statewide Pre-Kindergarten Program

Alaska state and flag

January 6, 2015

Juneau – Representative’s Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks), Les Gara (D-Anchorage), Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage), Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), Sam Kito III (D-Juneau) and Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) have pre-filed legislation to create a statewide, voluntary pre-kindergarten program to prepare Alaska’s children for entry into the education system.

“Pre-kindergarten programs are a win-win solution for Alaska,” said Rep. Kawasaki. “They increase student performance while also saving the state money in the long-term by producing self-reliant, successful adults.”

Alaska remains one of the only states that doesn’t provide pre-kindergarten programs on a statewide basis. Children who participate in these early learning programs have been shown to have higher academic proficiency scores throughout their primary and secondary education. Additionally, they are more likely to remain off public assistance, obtain a college education, earn more money as adults, enter the job market in larger numbers and stay out of jail.

“Early education has been shown to increase educational achievement across demographic lines and will reduce education and social costs in the long run,” said Rep. Ortiz, who’s a longtime high-school teacher.

The House lawmakers believe that Alaska has a responsibility to provide the best education possible for our children and that includes giving them the tools to start their academic careers successfully.

“Studies combined with real-world outcomes have shown that pre-K education is the silver bullet we’ve been looking for in education,” said Rep. Josephson. “Preparing students for real learning when they enter Kindergarten is vital, and brings those children who are disadvantaged in some way, up to parity with their peers.”

For more information please contact Riley Leonard in Rep. Kawasaki’s office at 907- 465-3466.



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