President Obama will visit City of Decatur Schools pre-k on Thursday. Oddly, Decatur schools are closed this week as part of the district’s balanced schedule calendar, which features a shorter summer and week-long breaks throughout the year. Many folks had vacation plans already in place and are out of town. (Some families went to Washington, D.C. Turns out that they’d have had a better chance glimpsing the president if they stayed in Decatur.)
Apparently, Decatur intends to reconvene its pre-k for the president’s visit. I’m not sure how many 4-year-olds from the pre-k classes can be rounded up Thursday. The quandary for parents may be: Go to the beach or go to school to meet the president? I would suspect most 4- and 5-year-olds would take the beach, but their parents may disagree.
College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur also houses early-learning programs for even younger kids, and those programs are in session. So, the president will see kids regardless of how many Decatur pre-k students give up their vacation to return to school for his visit.
According to the AJC:
Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program will get a turn in the national spotlight this week when President Barack Obama uses Decatur as a backdrop to promote an education initiative to give low-income preschoolers an earlier start on their schooling.
Although White House officials are mum on the details, several people briefed on the plans said Obama plans to address a proposal that would give more 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families a chance to go to pre-k programs. On Thursday he will visit Decatur’s College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center.
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College Heights’ website says the school serves 326 children through a partnership with City Schools of Decatur and Partners for Community Action, Inc. (Head Start Program).
Georgia is a fitting place for the announcement as the state was considered far ahead of its time two decades ago when it used lottery funds to launch a statewide pre-kindergarten program. In recent years, though, flattening lottery revenues and increasing enrollment have forced the state to reduce pre-kindergarten schedules and increase class sizes.
“Our pre-k program is still a national example. But certainly we can do more to increase quality and access,” said Mindy Binderman, the executive director of Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, an advocacy group. “We have to be sure we don’t rest on our laurels.”
Read more: Maureen Downey, AJC