Indiana’s prekindergarten pilot program is currently allowing children in 20 counties across Indiana to get an early start on their education. Last year, a federal mandate added that guardians of children wishing to attend preschool are required to be employed, be attending job training or an educational program or be actively seeking employment. This prevents guardians who are permanently disabled and are unable to work due to this disability from enrolling their children in this program. Additionally, children who are cared for by their grandparents are barred from the program due to the grandparent being retired or otherwise unable to work.

This requirement is an unnecessary barrier to early education that was added after the pilot program was launched. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) sought to take down this barrier because Indiana ranks second to last for pre-K enrollment and believes that policymakers should be doing everything possible to provide educational opportunities for our state’s children. Senate Bill (SB) 338, which would remove this requirement, was approved by members of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee on Wednesday and was reassigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee due to its fiscal impact.

SB 338 is an important proposal to ensure that our state is fully utilizing Indiana’s prekindergarten pilot program.