Officials push to make Pre-K a right not a privilege in Kansas C - KCTV5 News

Officials push to make Pre-K a right not a privilege in Kansas City

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Pre-K not only helps children transition into kindergarten more smoothly and experts say it would also benefit the city, as a whole. (WCAX) Pre-K not only helps children transition into kindergarten more smoothly and experts say it would also benefit the city, as a whole. (WCAX)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Enrolling children into Pre-K programs is expensive and for many parents, completely out of reach.

The total cost is near $10,000, something many parents in Kansas City can’t afford.

A group of officials in Kansas City feel this is unfair and are now trying to make Pre-K a right, rather than a privilege.

Right now, Kansas City elementary schools start with kindergarten but city leaders want to change that and would like to offer Pre-K to all families.

Pre-K not only helps children transition into kindergarten more smoothly and experts say it would also benefit the city, as a whole.

The Kansas City Health Department says people need to look at the big picture.

Officials with the department say pre-k will help kids read at grade level when they reach third grade. They say that if students are reading at grade level, they are more likely to graduate high school, which is an indicator they will be a healthy adult.

The department says more healthy adults means there would be less crime in the city, lower unemployment rate and health care savings in the future.

“We especially have to focus on the kids whose lives may have a lot of trauma, a lot of burden and preschool can be a really safe space for those families to get away from the everyday stress that is the life in some of our neighborhoods,” said Dr. Sarah Martin, Deputy Director at the Kansas City Health Department.

Malika Francis has five children. She says she has already noticed a big difference with her kids who have gone to school before ever going to kindergarten.

“As a parent, you do what you can do. You're their first teacher but there's something different when you have that support standing behind you of teachers doing their ABC’s and going over their 123's,” Francis said.

Francis says the move is important to a child’s success as they progress through school.

“That gap before kindergarten, they need that and sometimes we just say, ‘Oh they're just babies,’ but then they get to kindergarten it's so much harder to get them ready for first grade,” Francis said.

The health department hosted a meeting at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to discuss the possibility of expanding Pre-K in Kansas City.

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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