“Although the bill doesn’t look quite the way I want it to at this point, I’m pleased that we are at least keeping the concept moving,” said Rep. Behning. “Unfortunately the current bill fails to begin creating a high quality preschool program that helps our students of low-income families, but my hope is we can blend the two versions in conference committee and get the pilot program and a study commission.”
The commission’s charged tasks include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Studying the economic benefits of Pre-K or early learning programs;
• Studying the feasibility of obtaining a block grant and necessary waivers under the federal Head Start program to establish an early learning scholarship program or another type of alternative program;
• Studying the feasibility of obtaining a Child Care and Development Block Grant or other federal funds to fund Pre-K or early learning education programs in Indiana;
• Studying options for funding Pre-K or early learning programs, including opportunities to partner with businesses, philanthropic or community leaders
• Reviewing whether other states have developed rigorous accountability standards for Pre-K or early learning programs
“The outcome of this bill was not what we initially hoped for, but House Republicans will continue to work on our proposal to provide a high quality preschool opportunity for low-income families. Establishing a study commission is at least a step towards continuing the conversation so we can hopefully have everyone on board in the coming year, as this topic is not only an education issue, but inevitably a workforce issue for our state,” said Speaker Bosma.
The bill now returns to the House for further action.