Report: Pre-K Program Shrinks Academic Gap

May 10, 2013

The Arkansas Department of Education and the state Department of Human Services are working together to fund a Pre-K program for less fortunate children.

As KUAR’s Kezia Nanda reports, officials said research shows that since the program started, the education gap between economically-disadvantaged and affluent children has shrunk.

The event was held at Amboy Elementary School in North Little Rock, which hosts one of the Pre-K programs supported by a state-funded program for economically-disadvantaged students, called the Arkansas Better Chance or ABC.

A study conducted by the state Research Center shows a larger percentage of kids enrolling in ABC are considered “developed” in six categories compared to disadvantaged children who don’t enroll in a Pre-K program.

Sarah Argue, with the Arkansas Research Center, said, “We are working with the division to help look at the long-term outcomes of pre-K. There have been several national studies that have looked at children over the years and we know through these national studies that there’s a huge economic benefit to Pre-K as well as helping these children take full advantage of the K-12 system by starting kindergarten better prepared.”

The six categories are general knowledge, mathematic concepts, oral communication, attentive behavior, written language, and work habits.

The Arkansas Better Chance program has been serving about 25,000 students around the state.