West Virginia Remains a National Leader in Pre-K Education

April 11, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A commitment to pre-K education by the West Virginia Board of Education and other early education advocates has been recognized by a national report, board members learned during their monthly meeting on Wednesday.

“The State of Preschool 2011: State Preschool Yearbook,” a landmark report capping 10 years of research, shows West Virginia remains strong in its commitment to pre-K even as many states are faltering in their efforts to deliver high-quality preschool education to children most in need.

“An overwhelming body of research shows that high-quality pre-K prepares children to succeed in school, enroll in college or career training, and helps more students ultimately get better jobs that can help the nation’s economy,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple.  “They are less likely to require special education or repeat a grade, become teenage parents, or commit crimes as teens or adults, all at great savings to taxpayers.”

“The State of Preschool 2011,” produced by the nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, noted West Virginia has made tremendous progress in early education over the last decade. West Virginia continues to rank in the top five states for access, enrolling an all-time high of 58 percent of 4-year-olds in 2010-2011, an increase of 24 percent from a decade ago, according to the report. In addition, West Virginia continued to achieve eight of 10 research-based quality standard benchmarks indicative of effective early education policies.

“West Virginia has become a national beacon for what is possible in state pre-K even in difficult financial times,” said Steve Barnett, director of NIEER, which has surveyed state preschool programs on a number of measures since 2001-2002. “NIEER commends West Virginia for staying on schedule as it marches toward its goal of universal pre-K access by 2012-2013, illustrating what other states seem to have forgotten during budget season: investment in high-quality education today is worth it tomorrow.”

For more information, contact the WVDE Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.


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