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Report Says Iowa Preschoolers Lose Academic Gains

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/ FOX28)--Rocking out to a funky beat is how the three-year- olds  in Ms. Heather's pre-kindergarten class learn new words.
Building a vocabulary is part of the curriculum of Waypoint Services preschool program.
"We have kids that are actually at the reading level where they can read and do picture recognition with books," said Jen Kovach, director of childcare services.
Basic skills that-- according to a new report --wear off by the time children who went to state-funded pre-kindergarten programs reach third grade.
"We don't want kids sliding back; we want kids moving forward,” said Senator Rob Hogg who represents District 33.
Lawmakers got a copy of the report released by the American Institutes for Research Wednesday.
And they aren't surprised.
Since 2011, funding for pre-kindergarten programs has been slashed by nearly 16 percent. 
"It's not just preschool,” Hogg said. “It's the whole array of early childhood education programs."
Programs that childcare providers say need as much funding as they can get because of the benefits they provide.
"When they get to kindergarten they already know how to tie their shoes, how to hang up their book bag, how to be responsible for their belongings, how to recognize their first and last name,” Kovach said.
Providers say another benefit to preschool programs is early detection. The sooner a child gets started in school, the earlier they can find out if he or she has any learning disabilities.
"We do cognitive screening with the children so if that way if there is something with a speech delay any type of thing, we can intervene a lot earlier," Kovach said.
Lawmakers will review the data from the report in preparation for the 2014 legislative session.

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