Today’s data release about kindergarten readiness is good news for kids in the Commonwealth. The new kindergarten readiness screening tool will help our state assess where Kentucky kids stand and how to improve to ensure all kids are prepared for kindergarten. Given this week’s KIDS COUNT release from the Annie E. Casey Foundation on early reading proficiency, kindergarten readiness is a clear predicate to increasing the level of reading and, especially, to closing the growing achievement gap between low-income students and their peers.

Today’s release is a strong affirmation of Kentucky’s commitment to its youngest citizens, be that through supports for quality child care, expansion of HANDS or the broadening of preschool opportunities. If those early childhood commitments are protected in the budget, Kentucky will make huge strides in preparing children for school. We appreciate Governor Steve Beshear’s leadership on these important investments.

We were encouraged by remarks from Governor Beshear and Terry Tolan, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, that this data can help local communities come together to find solutions to improve early childhood experiences for Kentucky kids.

We were also encouraged by Commissioner Holliday’s remarks about supporting those youngsters who enter kindergarten not ready to learn. He appropriately noted the importance of looking at the whole needs of the child and initiating developmentally-appropriate practices that will help those youngsters catch up and get on track for success.

The data released today can be used as a baseline as we move forward. We are excited about the Governor’s commitment to ensure this data is truly a way for communities, schools, and the entire state to help children be on the right track for success.