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[r29] Column: Investing in our Future
Start Date: 1/22/2014 All Day
End Date: 1/22/2014
Entry Description
Investing in our Future
 
One of our primary focuses for this session is to better prepare young Hoosiers to be successful in their studies and in their careers. I believe that this begins with addressing education at a young age and providing educational options, including high-quality preschool programs, to Hoosier families. 
 
This session, I am happy to report that we are already making great progress in this endeavor as a bill that I co-authored was approved by the House this past week with wide bipartisan support. House Bill 1004 provides financial assistance to low-income families across the state to send their child to a high-quality preschool program. While we attempted the same program last year, a much smaller version of the program ended up passing. It is our hope to expand the program to more families.
 
Under this pilot program, four-year-olds with a family income of up to 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level would receive up to $6,800 to attend any preschool program that meets the standards of the Paths to QUALITY level 3 or 4 or is recognized by a nationally accredited body. Requiring the programs to meet these high standards ensures that children receiving the voucher get an excellent educational foundation.
 
Studies have shown that a high-quality preschool education can have significant, positive long-term effects on students. According to ReadyNation, children who aren’t ready for kindergarten are half as likely to read proficiently by 3rd grade, and children who aren’t reading proficiently by 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Early education is critical as children develop cognitive and social skills.
 
Giving the most at-risk and in-need Hoosiers a better start is a wise investment for Indiana. Forty other states have already realized this notion and at least partially fund preschool. The Perry Preschool study estimated that every dollar spent on early education yields a $16 return on investment. While it may cost the state some money up front, it will result in significant long-term gains, not to mention the students who are better off from it. 
 
The bill passed with overwhelming support and now heads to the Senate for their review. They will start the process all over in their chamber with a committee hearing and floor debate. If the legislation is passed without amendments, the bill will go to the governor to be signed into law. If there are amendments, it will come back to the House for further review.  

The session is flying by, but there is more to be done on important issues like job creation and retention, road funding and tax issues. Even though it is a short session, we are making every effort to address these priorities. We have two weeks left for bills in the first house to move, so it's a busy time. I will keep you posted as we progress forward. 

-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: (317) 232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
  • Education
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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