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The Memphis Pre-K Initiative: Our Chance To Advance

Earlier this fall, the Greater Memphis Chamber came out in support of the Memphis Pre-K Initiative. As our President & CEO John Moore stated at the time, it is unprecedented for an issue like this to have such broad-based support from the private sector. The Chamber supports this issue because “a quality education is not just a quality of life issue, it’s an economic development issue as well. The high-skilled jobs available in Memphis right now, and in the future, require a first-rate education and that starts with Pre-K,” said John Moore.

Read the full press release here.



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We are encouraging everyone to get out and vote at the early voting locations

What is the Pre-K Initiative?

The Pre-K Initiative is a ballot referendum unanimously approved by the Memphis City Council, that will go before voters to decide in a special election to be held on November 21st. The purpose of the proposed referendum is to raise the city’s sales tax by one-half percent (0.5%) to fully fund high quality pre-K for more than 4,500 children in Memphis currently left out of the pre-k system due to lack of funding. This proposed referendum also will generate up to an additional $20 million that will be earmarked to reduce property taxes.


State and Federal funds have failed to cover pre-k for nearly a third of all four year old in Memphis who would greatly benefit from an early foundation in self-confidence, discipline and learning. Studies have found the benefits of pre-k have a far reaching effect on the community.  By making sure every child has a starting chance, we will see a more skilled workforce, reduced government assistance, more public revenues, and less poverty and crime—in other words, a thriving city that attracts business and jobs.

How will it be administered?

The pre-k program will be governed by a Pre-K Commission comprised of business leaders and educators appointed by the Mayor of Memphis and approved by the City of Memphis. They are:

· Keith Norman, First Baptist-Broad pastor and Memphis branch NAACP president 
· Brad Martin, University of Memphis President
· Dr. Reginald Coopwood, CEO of The Regional Medical Center at Memphis
· Elsie Bailey, retired Memphis City Schools principal and administrator 
· Barbara Holden Nixon, Urban Child Institute
· Kirk Whalum, President and CEO of Stax Music Academy and the Stax Museum of                American Soul Music
· Barbara Hyde, President of the Hyde Family Foundations
· Kathy Buckman Gibson, Chairman of the Board, Buckman
The Memphis Pre-K Commission will set the standards for high quality pre-k and will work with child care centers to help them develop a research based curriculum and achieve accreditation.

For more information about the benefits of the Memphis Pre-K Initiative, please visit

Watch the Memphis Pre-K TV ad:

--Christina Meek
Posted: 10/22/2013 8:36:59 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: development, economic, economy, education, jobs, Memphis, pre-k, quality, workforce

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