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Pre-K program won’t be ready for students this fall

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The pre-kindergarten pilot program advocated by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and passed by the General Assembly earlier this year will not be ready to launch this fall.

House Education Chairman Bob Behning, author of the law, said he has recommended the program should start in the fall of 2015.

And Lou Ann Baker, director of external relations for the Center for Education and Career Innovation, said an executive committee working on the program is very close to determining a timeline. But “given the many parameters, it will not be this fall,” she said.

Behning and some state officials had said in March that the program could be ready as early as August.

But in a statement, the Family and Social Services Administration said the law “includes requirements for a number of items that must be addressed prior to pilot implementation including the procurement of a researcher to conduct the longitudinal child outcome study, the design and implementation of a new kindergarten readiness assessment and the program accountability system,  as well as upgrades to IT and staffing infrastructure.”

FSSA said the “rollout date will be announced as soon as it is finalized.”

The bill passed the General Assembly despite initial skepticism from majority Republicans in the Indiana Senate who wanted to study the issue before committing cash to the program. Senate leaders eventually relented – after Pence made repeated trips to preschools to tout the proposal – but forced the governor to find the $10 million for preschool within existing social service programs.

Pence said his administration has already identified the $10 million in savings within the Family and Social Services Administration to fund the pilot.

An executive committee will choose the five counties for the pilot with the goal of picking urban, suburban and rural areas. State officials said the counties will be chosen and announced in the middle of June.

Also, the participating communities have to raise 10 percent to 50 percent of the funds from sources outside of the state – in addition to the $10 million Pence was responsible for.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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