To reach children who do not live in school readiness communities, CT should establish an early childhood scholarship program and fund it with surplus school readiness funding. This scholarship program would repurpose leftover School Readiness funding to serve low-income children who do not live in School Readiness communities. Students could use their scholarships to attend one of the 130 preschool programs accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which the serve communities across the state.[i]
Current Connecticut Statute
Historically, there are surplus funds in the School Readiness account (due to children dropping out/moving, etc.). Redirecting this surplus funding to fund scholarships for low-income children to attend accredited preschool programs should be the priority use for this funding.[ii]
There are dozens of rigorous studies that have shown that high-quality early childhood programs can provide low-income children with gains in early language, literacy, and numeracy.[iii] However, many low-income children are not reached by the state’s School Readiness program because they do not live in School Readiness communities.
[ii] These uses include funding for provider professional development and accreditation costs found in C.G.S. 10-16p of the 2014 Supplement of the General Statutes, as amended by P.A. 14-39 –but the Office of Early Childhood has other funding sources with which to pay for these types of early childhood quality enhancements.
[iii] Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education. New York: Foundation for Child Development and Ann Arbor, MI: Society for Research in Child Development. Yoshikawa, H., Weiland, C., Brooks-Gunn, J., Burchinal, M., Espinosa, L., Gormley, W., Ludwig, J.O., Magnuson,
K.A., Phillips, D.A., & Zaslow, M.J. (2013). Retrieved from: http://fcd-us.org/site