Miss. lawmakers increase funding for Early Learning Collaboratives

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MOSELLE, Miss. (WDAM) - There were a lot of wins for education this legislative session. Lawmakers made notable advancements for our state’s education, one of those being doubling funds for the state’s Early Learning Collaboratives.

Angela Bass, executive director of the Mississippi Early Learning Alliance, said this means more quality education and opportunities for the state’s pre-kindergarten kids.

She said she is grateful to Mississippi lawmakers for prioritizing Early Learning Collaboratives this legislative session.

“Cause I know that it will make a huge impact in the future,” Bass said.

Bass explained the state established Early Learning Collaboratives in 2013, the state’s first investment in a pre-K program. At the time, there was only $3 million to service the state’s pre-K kids. Now, Bass said the state is investing $16 million.

“This is a huge expansion,” Bass said. “It’s gonna double the amount of children that are currently served. So, right now through previous expansions, we have got that number up to about 3,000 kids. But with this new funding, there will be about 6,000 kids that will be able to be served.”

Bass said that means 16% of 4-year-olds in the state will now have access to quality education, and a better chance at excelling in their K through 12 education.

“Kids who have been in a learning environment in the year prior to kindergarten are more likely to be able to focus and to follow directions and interact with their peers in a developmentally appropriate way,” Bass said.

Bass said lawmakers allocating this $16 million to collaboratives is also exciting news for Head Start programs and licensed childcare centers, who could use the funding to come together and form a collaborative.

Bass said with this expansion, she encourages parents of pre-K kids to check in their area for an Early Learning Collaborative.

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