Momentum for early learning picking up in Indianapolis
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.
State lawmakers repeatedly took a pass on getting Indiana out of a small club of less than 10 states that spent no state dollars to help low income children attend preschool. Indianapolis Public Schools, the largest and poorest school district in the city, had only a limited public preschool program. And quality privately-run preschools were expensive and hard to find.
As recently as 2012, the U.S. Census found as many as 60 percent of Indiana children did not have access to preschool.
But the landscape has changed so dramatically that IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee told school board members this week he believes the district could offer universal preschool to four-year-olds within five years, and possibly much sooner.
That would mean seats for 3,000 children, equal to roughly the number of kindergarteners who enroll at IPS each year.