Indiana investing more in preschool for low-income families

Over the next two years, Indiana will invest an additional $20 million in a pilot initiative that provides low-income families with access to pre-kindergarten programs. First established in 2014, On My Way Pre-K currently serves nearly 2,300 students in five counties.
Additional state dollars will expand the initiative’s reach to 15 more counties. To participate, students must be 4 years old and reside in a family at or below 127 percent of the federal poverty level. (For the original five counties, the income thresholds could be loosened.) The state also will provide funding for in-home, online early-childhood education in parts of the state that lack high-quality providers.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, 32 percent of the nation’s 4-year-olds attend a state-funded preschool. These rates, however, vary widely among states. In the Midwest, three states outpaced the national average: Wisconsin, 71 percent; Iowa, 64 percent; and Michigan, 34 percent. Wisconsin’s Constitution calls for schools to be “free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years,” and for decades, schools have received state funds (via the state-aid formula) for 4-year-old kindergarten.

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Stateline Midwest: June/July 20162.01 MB