It’s expected to take over ten years to implement.
Frederick, Md (KM) The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which passed the House of Delegates last week, calls for a significant expansion of full day pre-kindergarten. The process is expected to take 10 years to complete.
The program will be free and voluntary for three to four-year olds from families with income of up to 300% of the federal poverty level. Four-year-olds from families whose incomes are between 300% to 600% of the federal poverty level would pay on a sliding scale; and four-year olds from families with an income level of up to 600% of the federal poverty level would pay a portion of the cost.
During a recent appearance on WFMD’s “Success Happens,” former Board of Education member April Miller said the School System provides all day pre-k, and those students who participate are 52% ready for kindergarten. “If you do the non-public nursery school, family child care or child care, all of those students are almost 75% ready for kindergarten,” she said. “So those are the really successful programs, and I hate for something like Kirwan to take those opportunities away from our families who are already doing well and are being very successful.”
“Kirwan” is the Kirwan Commission, which put together the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.
“I wouldn’t say that because it’s 52% in FCPS pre-k and 70-some-percent that means that FCPS isn’t doing it’ job there,” responded Board of Education President Brad Young, who also appeared recently on “Success Happens.”
“No,that’s not what I said,” Miller responded.
Young further went on to say that the Blueprint will not take away the private day care centers from families. “I don’t think their intention is to eliminate the opportunity for people to use these private schools because they know we don’t have the capacity from a building standpoint if we were to take all the students,” he said. “So we have to rely on our community partners for these programs.”
Miller said more must be done to reach children from impoverished families and special needs kids, and get them into pre-kindergarten. “If we’re going to start trying to address those needs, how are we going to do it best,” she said. “What is the plan? Are we going to provide vouchers? Is that what we do? Where do meet the people that are in the gap that are not being served?”
By Kevin McManus