§ 16-87-2. Findings.
(a) The general assembly hereby finds that attending high quality early childhood education programs help children develop important social and cognitive skills and knowledge that prepares children to succeed in school. Research has shown long-lasting benefits for children who participate in very high quality, educationally focused early childhood programs. The benefits to children can also generate substantial government cost savings, including reduced need for special education services, reduced need for cash assistance and other public benefits, and reduced rates of incarceration.
(b) The general assembly finds that there are substantial numbers of children in Rhode Island entering kindergarten who are not adequately prepared to succeed in school. Early school failure may ultimately contribute to such children dropping out of school at an early age, failing to achieve their full potential, becoming dependent upon public assistance, or becoming involved in criminal activities.
(c) Furthermore, the general assembly finds that there is an existing infrastructure of early childhood programs in Rhode Island serving preschool age children in full-day and half-day programs that is supported through state and federal investments in child care, Head Start and special education. It is the goal of the general assembly to support a system of publicly-funded, high quality prekindergarten education programs that are operated through a diverse delivery network, including child care, Head Start and public school districts.
(d) By enacting this law, the general assembly acknowledges the need to adequately prepare all children to succeed in school by providing access to publicly-funded high quality prekindergarten education programs.
(P.L. 2008, ch. 110, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 265, § 1.)