West Virginia leads country in Pre-K funding - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia leads country in Pre-K funding

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West Virginia's children have more access to Pre-Kindergarten education than most of the nation.  That is according to a release from the West Virginia Department of Education.

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released their "State of Preschool 2012" report, which showed that the mountain state increased the per pupil pre-K spending by $10 Million from 2011 to 2012.  West Virginia is spending about $6,000 per child.  According to the release that is more than $2,000 above the national average of $3,841 per child.

The report from NIEER showed that West Virginia maintained its ranking of eighth in the country for resources dedicated to pre-Kindergarten schooling.  Even better than that, only four states rank above West Virginia for access to pre-K education.  In fact, more than 60-percent of four-year-olds are enrolled in West Virginia.

"We are pleased to see West Virginia has stayed on schedule as it marches toward its goal of universal access to pre-K," said NIEER Director, Steve Barnett.  "It serves as a model for other states."

In the West Virginia Legislature, new laws requiring pre-K aides to have higher levels of education were supported by lawmaker and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-W.Va.).  The laws will go into effect on July 2014.  There were also steps taken to increase attendance from half-days to full days, expanding pre-K opportunities for four-year-olds.