Indiana Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Education and Workforce Development Policy Caryl Auslander comments on the creation of the All IN 4 Pre-K campaign and need for expanded state-funded preschool:
“Over the last five years, the Indiana Chamber has put an increased focus on supporting the development of a statewide publicly-funded preschool initiative – making it a top legislative priority in each of those sessions. We are very encouraged by the All IN 4 Pre-K effort and believe the 2017 legislative session is when a more robust pre-school program must be put in place; the need is very real and widespread.
“I have a daughter starting preschool this year, but there are many children who are not as fortunate. Every year, thousands of disadvantaged children arrive in Indiana kindergarten classrooms totally unprepared to learn. Schools struggle to help these kids catch up, but so many fall behind; they become frustrated and even resigned to failure. The educational and societal costs of these failures are staggering. “Ultimately what happens is these students then are often unprepared to support themselves as adults. That’s why we need to start these students along the proper education road as soon as possible, in preschool.
“Substantially expanding the state’s preschool program for children from low-income Hoosier families will provide this much-needed quality education start, help Indiana’s graduation rates improve and the dropout rates decline. And it will cost our state far less in the long run.”