On April 2, the Mississippi legislature voted to fund a state pre-K program, ending Mississippi’s status as the only state in the south that does not fund a state pre-K program.
With an overwhelming majority, the House and Senate passed SB2395, and appropriated $3 million to start a program in September 2014. The program is expected to serve 1,325 children in its first year.
The legislature also appropriated $3 million to continue a child care quality improvement project, called Mississippi Building Blocks (MBB), which was previously funded by the private sector. MBB is designed to work within the existing infrastructure of licensed child care centers to improve the school readiness of young children. It supports the quality of care provided through: on-site, classroom-based mentors, classroom materials, parent education, and business consulting.
Many thanks to our Alliance partners who played a leading role in this effort, including the Council for a Strong America, the Committee for Economic Development, the National Black Child Development Institute, Child Care Aware, Child Trends, and DCA. Thanks also to our many, many partners on the ground in Mississippi: MS Center for Education Innovation, MS Low Income Child Care Initiative, MS First, Cathy Grace, and Pamela Shaw. This was truly a team effort, and a great victory for the youngest citizens of the state.
Helene Stebbins, Senior Policy Director, Alliance for Early Success (April 16, 2013)