Montgomery, Ala. — Gov. Kay Ivey announced the release of “Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America,” a video detailing Alabama’s nationally renowned prekindergarten program.

The video, produced and filmed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation, debuted at the National Forum on Education Policy hosted by the Education Commission of the States in Washington D.C.

“We know that investing in quality early learning impacts a child’s future far beyond the classroom,” said Gov. Ivey. “Alabama remains committed to ensuring the highest quality early learning experiences for our children, so that every child has access to the opportunities that prepare them for success in life.”

The documentary was filmed throughout the state in pre-kindergarten classes from Mobile to Wilcox Counties. All 67 Alabama counties employ over 2,000 pre-k teachers and almost 20,000 students participating in the Pre-K and Pre-K - 3rd pilot program.

Alabama had led the U.S. in expanding its state-funded pre-kindergarten program from fewer than 2 percent to almost 30 percent of eligible four-year-olds statewide. According to research done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Public Affairs research Council of Alabama, students who participate in these programs are more likely to be proficient in research and math at every grade level.

“We are proud and excited to share our state’s success story with the country,” said Jeana Ross, Secretary of Early Childhood Education. “Alabama has built a nationally-recognized program of equity and quality, and we are committed to supporting these efforts to provide a deeper understanding of the value of investing in early childhood education.”

According to statistics released by the Alabama Governor’s Office,the First Class Pre-K program will served more than 18,000 four-year-olds during the 2018-2019 academic year