Behning works to expand pre-K program statewide

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Monday, February 11, 2019 9:28 am

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 11, 2019) – The House Education Committee Monday voted in support of State Rep. Bob Behning’s (R-Indianapolis) legislation that would provide high-quality pre-K options to low-income families statewide. 

According to Behning, students who do not attend pre-K, especially those from low-income families, often enter school up to 18 months developmentally behind their peers.

“Without some form of early education, many students enter kindergarten unprepared,” Behning said. “Not only do effective pre-K programs establish a solid academic foundation, students learn critical skills like following directions and working with others. Providing opportunities for more families to take advantage of excellent pre-K programs within their communities would drive student success throughout their K-12 career and beyond.”

Behning championed legislation in 2014 creating the On My Way Pre-K pilot program, which offers high-quality, early education opportunities to 4-year-olds from low-income families. In 2017, he authored a law expanding the pilot program from five counties to 20.

Behning authored a bill that would allow any high-quality pre-K provider, regardless of county, to apply for state funding. Behning said priority would be given to the providers in the 20 counties participating in the original pilot program. 

Behning said On My Way Pre-K currently serves less than 3,000 Hoosier 4-year-olds. According to Early Learning Indiana, more than 27,000 low-income children do not have access to a high-quality pre-K program.

“Pre-K is an investment in our next generation,” Behning said. “It is estimated that for each $1 spent on pre-K, the state could save up to $4 in future education expenses.”

House Bill 1628 can now be considered by the full House of Representatives. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,

which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.