MONTGOMERY, AL – For the fourth consecutive year, a national education report rates Alabama's First Class Pre-Kindergarten program as being the nation's best in quality.
The National Institute for Early Education Research rates Alabama and North Carolina as tied for the nation's top spot when it comes to meeting all quality standards in pre-K.
This is the fourth consecutive year the two states have shared the top spot for pre-K quality standards.
"Even while facing difficult budget challenges, we've been able to greatly increase enrollment in First Class and maintain the highest quality pre-K program in the nation," said Governor Riley. "That's a great accomplishment that will help change our children's lives for the better in Alabama."
Dr. Marquita Davis, Commissioner of the Department of Children's Affairs and a member of the Governor's Cabinet, said maintaining high quality standards is critical.
"Governor Riley has overseen an impressive expansion of pre-K while also making sure we remain the highest quality program. That's essential because every dollar invested in a high quality pre-K program pays off many times over as it lays a strong foundation for success in life," said Dr. Davis.
The budget for Alabama's First Class program has increased from $3.3 million in Fiscal Year 2005 to $18.3 million for Fiscal Year 2011, which begins October 1. During that same period of time, enrollment in the program -- which is voluntary and open to the state's four-year-olds -- has grown from 990 students to 3,870 students.
The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research can be found online at http://nieer.org/yearbook/.