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Day care providers and educational professionals are closely watching this year’s legislative debate about early childhood programs, which could reshape New Mexico’s private child care industry.
Senate Bill 298, in particular, has many providers on edge, since the bill would place prekindergarten services for 4-year-olds under the Public Education Department, in effect transferring them out of private day care and into public schools. It’s part of a broad legislative effort to improve pre-K by expanding programs for New Mexico children in response to a landmark lawsuit that mandates more state spending on education in general and early childhood learning in particular.
Many providers and educators prefer a competing initiative, Senate Bill 22, that would consolidate pre-K and other early childhood services under a new Early Childhood Education and Care Department. That bill would leave pre-K services for 4-year-olds in the hands of private providers.
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