Monday, Jan. 6, 2019
COLUMBIA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- Some widespread changes could be coming to early childhood education all thanks to a plan set to be introduced by Gov. Henry McMaster next week.
McMaster wants to expand the full day 4-year-old kindergarten program statewide.
Right now, children in 62 traditional school districts can take part in the program offered at a public school or private child care center.
But there are 17 school districts in the state where there are thousands of children they say are at-risk who aren't attending an all-day 4k program. The nearly $53 million plan would change that.
McMaster said the plan is a big part of his executive budget he'll be unveiling next week.
“It's clear now what we have to do,” McMaster said. “We must get these children in those classrooms at 4-years-old so they can be part of the American dream. There's no place more obvious than South Carolina. This is where the American Dream has taken hold and it's making a big difference.”
The governor's office says a 2019 study showed more than half of children ages 3 to 4 don't attend a high quality preschool program.
Any child who qualifies for Medicaid or whose family income is 185 percent or less of the federal poverty level qualifies to attend the all-day 4K program
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