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PRESS RELEASE: Governor’s 4K Expansion Plan Brings New Day to South Carolina’s Children

January 6, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Megan Carolan, Institute for Child Success
PHONE: 864-287-8063 ext. 704
EMAIL: mcarolan@instituteforchildsuccess.org

Governor’s 4K Expansion Plan Brings New Day to South Carolina’s Children
Proposed budget prioritizes full-day 4K for low-income students, creates opportunities for under 3s

Governor Henry McMaster has announced that his forthcoming budget will include $53 million to increase access to full-day, 4-year-old kindergarten (“4K”) for low-income students in every South Carolina school district, creating opportunities for thousands more 4-year-olds across the state.

The Institute for Child Success (ICS) celebrates this historic proposed investment in the children of the Palmetto State, an essential step to make South Carolina a state where all children have the chance to succeed, beginning from birth.

South Carolina has long invested in 4K for a subset of its youngest learners, stemming from a court case which created a program in 2006 to improve early childhood education for low-income students in the plaintiff communities. While this program has been crucial to those communities, the funding mechanism has not grown with real costs in those communities, and 17 school districts have not been able to access state funds for 4K based on eligibility criteria. This proposed investment would provide access to quality early learning experiences for all students from low-income backgrounds, wherever they live across the state.

“Children are born learning no matter what zip code they are born in,” said Jamie Moon, ICS president, “and we are thrilled that the state is committed to ensuring opportunities to thrive exist in all communities. This proposed investment is a concept not born overnight – we are grateful to Governor McMaster, supportive legislators in both houses, and the dedicated advocates who have worked to highlight the needs of students for years.”

“ICS is also pleased to see the Governor proposing $4 million for parenting initiatives for children ages birth to 3 in the state’s poorest counties,” Moon continued. “The proposed 4K investment is worthy of celebration, but we also appreciate that the state recognizes the need for supporting and catalyzing child development even earlier. We are optimistic that investment in children under 3 years old will continue to grow as advocates and policymakers see the strong returns on investment from these programs.” ICS is currently a partner on a foundation-funded planning grant in South Carolina specifically focused on expanding high-quality infant and toddler services for low-income families (more information here).

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About Institute for Child Success

The Institute for Child Success (ICS) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization dedicated to the success of all young children. Headquartered in Greenville and working state- and nationwide, ICS pursues its mission in four primary ways: proposing smart public policies, grounded in research; advising governments, nonprofits, foundations, and other stakeholders on strategies to improve outcomes; sharing knowledge, convening stakeholders, embracing solutions, and accelerating impact; and encouraging and cultivating catalytic, innovative leadership in early childhood.

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Megan Carolan

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