The issue: Voluntary pre-kindergarten

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Our position: Pre-kindergarten is essential for developing young minds.

On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Riley said he plans to expand pre-kindergarten in Alabama. He’s going to start by traveling the state to talk about his plan, asking people what they think.

Actually we have only to look at neighboring states to see how pre-kindergarten helps young children develop.

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Louisiana, for example, has focused on early childhood education.

Children learn social skills, such as getting along with one another in team efforts. Their teachers prepare them for higher grades by giving them skills with which they’ll learn to read. And, if a person can read, they can accomplish almost anything.

Riley is right in that our schools in Alabama have made great strides in educating our children. The state has expanded programs, such as the Alabama Reading Initiative, the math and science initiative and ACCESS distance learning programs.

Efforts such as these have placed the state at the top in the nation in reading improvements at the fourth-grade level. Those same programs have doubled the percentage of fourth-graders reading at the advanced level.

We’re pleased to see the governor taking the next step.

in providing quality public education in our state.

We wait for him to unveil his plan soon.