Rep. Austin delighted at Madison County’s inclusion in pre-k program
INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Terri J. Austin (D-Anderson) today issued the following statement after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that Madison County will be among the second group of Indiana counties to be included in the On My Way Pre-K program:
“I am delighted that Madison County will be able to play a significant role in the expansion of a program that has a demonstrated benefit in increasing the health and development of children at an early age. As has now become the saying, ‘All I really need to know, I learned by the time I got to kindergarten.’
“Of course, so much more could have been done to make these programs available to the children who need them the most. Indiana continues to be remarkably timid in expanding the scope of a program that has a proven track record of success. Considering the challenges that so many kids face in their early years, we need to take stronger steps in providing them with the chance to develop their abilities and identify the problems that might crop up in later years. I also am concerned that this program contains more strings in eligibility that might prevent many children in low-income families from being able to take part in pre-K.
“But we have a foot in the door now. I have talked with so many people across Madison County in the social services and education communities who have been chomping at the bit to get going on this project, and now they have the chance to help our youngest people get the chance to explore their gifts and grow with them. It will be exciting to watch them in the years to come.
“Studies already have shown a marked improvement in learning growth among children with access to pre-K in such areas as language ability, literacy, and general readiness for school. Now we will be bringing these benefits to Madison County. I cannot wait to see what comes next.”