“High quality pre-k works – students who are enrolled in quality programs have a measurable advantage over their peers who do not attend pre-k. The 2016 reforms approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, including the introduction of competitive grants for VPK funding, elevated quality standards across the state for truer consistency of quality. Tennessee should continue to demand that pre-k programs receiving state investment meet the highest quality standards. The next step is to expand pre-k access for all disadvantaged Tennessee 4-year-olds and commit to a program of higher quality in grades K-3 so that pre-k gains are sustained through 3rd grade.
The fact that almost two-thirds of Tennessee school students are not proficient in English or math in third grade underscores an urgent need for change and a focus on improving early education from birth to third grade. We must be fully committed to improving the quality of children’s early learning as a fundamental strategy to improving Tennessee’ entire public education system.
That’s a policy direction and investment that Tennesseans stand behind, according to a statewide survey conducted for TQEE in fall 2018. Eighty-six percent believe that early grades form the building blocks for all learning, and 94 percent support expansion of pre-k to all 4-year-old Tennesseans.”