Apr 11, 2023 - News

Colorado to debut universal preschool with no new quality standards

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Preschools won't need to meet new quality standards when Colorado's program launches in August.

Driving the news: In order to quickly launch the state's universal preschool program despite repeated hiccups, Gov. Jared Polis' administration is telling education providers they don't need to make any changes, our partners at Chalkbeat report.

  • The move clashes with the administration's pledges to provide high-quality universal preschool as part of the voter-approved program.

Why it matters: More than 30,000 children participating in the program will attend preschools that widely vary in quality, from those reaching excellence at Level 5 certification regarding the learning environment and teacher qualifications to others at Level 1 that just meet basic health and safety standards.

Details: The Colorado Department of Early Childhood says they'll adopt quality standards this fall that will take effect for the 2024 school year.

  • Dawn Odean, the state's universal preschool director, says providers were concerned about the unknowns of the new guidance.

Of note: To address a shortage of preschool providers, the state is allowing classrooms with as many as 24 children. That's more than the current state guidelines of 16, and above independent recommendations for no more than 20 students.

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