Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL): “Bright from the Start”
In 1995, Georgia became the first state to provide universal PreKindergarten to all four-year-olds through the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). While Georgia's innovations in early care and education resulted from forces and individuals distinct to the state and region, a case study of Georgia's lottery-funded PreK program offers lessons that can inform early education policy in other states.
Georgia PreK-3rd Alignment
Through Universal Prekindergarten in Georgia: A Case Study of Georgia's Lottery-Funded Pre-K Program, researchers discovered that despite the immediate positive effects of Georgia Universal PreKindergarten on child learning and development, students were experiencing a “fade-out” effect of these gains in the early years of elementary school. Georgia policy leaders argued that to counter these “fade-out” effects they needed to implement a more coordinated and aligned PreK-3rd system.
Designed as a technique for reducing PreK – elementary school fade-out, the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (GKIDS), a performance-based assessment, provides teachers with information about the level of instructional support needed by individual students entering Kindergarten and First Grade. The goal of the assessment is to help create a connection between PreK and the early years of elementary school.
The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)