Double-Edged Sword

Expansion of pre-K funding both gives and takes

By Heather Norris

As the idea of expanding prekindergarten in Maryland becomes more and more popular on both sides of the political aisle, the details involved in just how to implement the different programs are still a work in progress.

State officials heard from panels of advocates Feb. 12, when discussion began on Senate Bill 332 and House Bill 297, the Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014. The bill calls for an extension of prekindergarten services to 4-year-olds from families with maximum incomes of 300 percent of the poverty line, a move the O’Malley administration has said it hopes will help about 1,600 more Maryland children access a pre-K education.

“There is a difference between a child who starts kindergarten with a 3,000-word vocabulary and an 8,000-word vocabulary,” Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown told the House Ways and Means and the Senate Budget and Taxation committees. “And that difference is pre-K.”

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