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National Review Highlights West Virginia's Commitment to Pre-K

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February 03, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is positively highlighted in a report released this week by the Education Commission of the States for the strides made in pre-K funding and the resulting impact for West Virginia students. The report stresses the meaningful impact pre-k education has on a students’ academic success and applauds West Virginia for its efforts in incorporating early education into its planning and funding.

West Virginia is one of six states nationally to meet all 10 quality benchmarks standards according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, and one of 10 states that fund pre-K programs using their school funding program. The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) outlined specific goals for closing the third-grade literacy gap, including a component that states all four-year-olds must have access to voluntary pre-K programs. This resulted in a 75 percent participation rate for the 2015-16 school year.

Additionally, in 2013, West Virginia ranked 46th in a national ranking for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in third-grade reading. The results for 2015 show that West Virginia has moved up six spots to 40th in third-grade reading.

“We are committed to a statewide early childhood focus to provide children with a firm foundation as they start their academic careers,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano. “Research tells us a pre-K focus has a meaningful impact on a student’s future academic success.”

West Virginia passed legislation in 2002 to increase participation in pre-K programs within a 10-year period, encouraging local education agencies the time and support they needed to develop their capacity for pre-K programs.

The full report can be found by visiting: http://www.ecs.org/ec-content/uploads/State_Pre-K_Funding_2016-17_Fiscal_Year_Trends_and_opportunities-1.pdf

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