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Preschool: Support reached the tipping point

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.

She’d been here before. Over the last 15 years, the push for preschool has always ended in disappointment.

But this time, she had a good feeling.

“I was fairly optimistic about it right to the end,” she said. “I knew this was a short session and (lawmakers) don’t like to make changes in the budget in a short session. But they heard so much they almost had to do something. And this is a good first step.”

Why was this time different?

Shelley points to two big factors: strong and growing support for early childhood education from business leaders and Pence’s evolving embrace of the idea of state aid for poor preschoolers over the past year.

Read the full story on Chalkbeat IN.