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Indiana considering statewide virtual preschool program

Your child might soon be able to attend preschool online! Indiana lawmakers are moving ahead with a proposal that would give every family in the Hoosier state access to pre-k learning software.

The program would be modeled after one that the state of Utah already, a state-funded program called Upstart.

The program claims it can prepare kids for kindergarten in just 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Upstart uses technology to ensure free access to early childhood education for every student in the state. The program even includes loaner devices for students who may not have access to technology at home.

Parents and children work for a year with the software. It focuses on learning the alphabet, vocabulary, basic grammar and sounding out words.

According to Utah’s report from 2016, when around 5,000 kids used Upstart, children improved on literacy tests over peers who didn’t use the programs. But, the kids who participated were from highly educated and middle class households.

That has been raising questions about whether its effectiveness will translate to other environments, like low-income families.

Besides Utah, South Carolina and Floyd County in southeastern Indiana already make the software available. Idaho is also considering the program.

Indiana lawmakers are moving ahead with the proposal. The state would spend nearly $2 million on the program.

The bill hasn’t been finalized yet. Governor Eric Holcomb says he is “open-minded”, but wants to make sure that the state invests money into traditional options as well.

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