Colorado explicitly invited faith-based preschools to participate in its new $322 million universal preschool program. But state officials have sent mixed messages about whether preschools can offer religious instruction during state-funded class time.
Colorado’s proposed quality rules, which will take effect in fall 2024, are already coming too late for the first class of universal preschoolers — about 38,000 4-year-olds and 9,000 3-year-olds so far this fall
Colorado’s universal preschool plan called for certain children to get up to 30 hours a week at no cost to their families, provided there was enough money. It turns out there isn’t.
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Education and early childhood groups have sought to delay notifications because they see too many problems, including whether Colorado has the money to cover promised classroom hours.
While many early childhood advocates and providers have praised Colorado’s plan to significantly expand publicly funded preschool, there’s ongoing concern that the rollout is being rushed
State officials expect about 30,000 children to opt into the universal preschool program in its first year. That’s about half the number that will be eligible.
More than 250 preschool providers, offering a total of 12,000 seats, have signed up for the universal program so far
Of two dozen districts surveyed by Chalkbeat, 16 plan to offer universal free meals next year. But some districts remain undecided, including two of Colorado’s largest districts — Denver and Douglas County.
The hope is that better curriculum materials combined with a recent statewide teacher training effort will transform reading instruction — and boost reading achievement — across Colorado