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Universal Pre-Kindergarten likely to continue to be a discussion item in Frankfort

Stu Johnson

Making universal pre-kindergarten education available to all Kentucky children has been discussed for some time. This week during his Primary Election victory speech, Governor Beshear told supporters such legislation would pass in a second term, if re-elected.

Maria Rutherford is president of the Kentucky Association of Early Childhood Education. She said the need for prison beds may be based on how many children are able to read by third grade.

“Then we know that that activity is probably going to start happening when they are 14, 15, 16 and definitely by 18. We need to have a prison bed waiting for them. That’s a sad correlation right there,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford said universal pre-k would mean access to this form of education for all Kentucky children, either at age three or four.

Rutherford added a properly trained teacher can help address emotional and social barriers.

“So, a teacher that is skilled can come in and begin to help them control their hands, control their feet, which in essence helps them control their mind, so that they have the ability to learn a sound of a letter,” said Rutherford.

Rutherford noted that can help the young student better focus on instruction.

The professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College says she doesn’t know the state cost for expansion. But Rutherford added the question for lawmakers is, quote, “how much is the future generation of Kentucky worth?”

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Stu Johnson*
Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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