Reauthorizing First Steps to School Readiness
Companion bills H.4774 and S.1038 would reauthorize the first steps to school readiness program, which provides funding to and oversight of various early education programs in South Carolina, until July 1 2021, and would ensure that the program is automatically reauthorized every five years thereafter. These bills will likely pass through the General Assembly with little opposition, but legislators should take a moment to consider just whether they want to reauthorize this program into the foreseeable future.
South Carolina already participates in the federal pre-k program in addition to operating multiple state level pre-k initiatives. There is little evidence that any of these programs improve student performance beyond elementary school, and no evidence that they have any beneficial effects for participants once they have reached high school. At a time when many are calling for increased state education funding it’s imperative to ensure that the dollars that are currently being spent on education are being spent wisely, and not on feel goods programs that produce questionable results.