Walt Maddox announces universal first-class pre-k proposal

Walt Maddox
Walt Maddox [Photo Credit: City of Tuscaloosa]

Last month, Tuscaloosa Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox unveiled a plan for a statewide education lottery — dubbed the Alabama Education Lottery (AEL) — to help create a 21st Century educational system to help prepare Alabama’s children for competition in the technological age.

On Tuesday, Maddox revealed the second component in his lottery plan: a universal first pre-k class.

“Pre-K is proven to significantly improve school performance throughout a child’s entire academic career, including lowering grade repetition, higher scores on achievement and comprehension tests, less likely to be placed in special education, more likely to graduate high school, and more likely to go to college,” said Maddox. “And, research shows that for every dollar spent on quality Pre-K, the state saves $2.00 to $4.00 in educational costs later on.”

Alabama has been nationally recognized for its First-Class Pre-K Program, but only 30 percent of Alabama’s four-year-olds have access.

“As governor, I will propose that $90 million of the Alabama Education Lottery proceeds fund the remaining 70 percent of the costs to fully fund The First-Class Pre-K. The first round of investments will expand to academically at-risk four-year-olds with the goal of universal pre-k by 2024.”

If elected Governor, Maddox would propose the AEL to the state Legislature. If passed, there would then be a constitutional amendment to be voted on in November 2020 by the people of Alabama.