Mayor Greg Ballard today announced major new education initiatives aimed in part at combating an upswing in violence in Indianapolis, most notably a $50 million, five-year public-private effort to expand preschool for poor children.
For a more than a decade, early learning advocates in Indianapolis who argued that more and better quality preschool could dramatically help kids start kindergarten more prepared to learn were deeply frustrated.
The Indianapolis Public School Board will consider expanding its fledgling preschool program to add 200 spots for four year olds by establishing 10 more preschool classes in seven schools at its Tuesday meeting.
Ena Shelley, Butler University’s education dean and a national expert in early childhood education, started out 2014 cautiously optimistic about the chances of establishing state-paid tuition aid for low income preschoolers in Indiana for the first time.
In 2011, Indiana’s then-Gov. Mitch Daniels made education a major focus of his legislative agenda, unveiling four major bills that tackled many education hot buttons — teachers, unions, charter schools, and vouchers. But, as advocates quickly pointed out, Daniels had overlooked another favored policy: early childhood education.
Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz said schools might not have to make up all the days they’ve missed because of poor weather if they can present a workable plan to make the time up by adding to the school day or even by having students make up work online.