Today, the National Institute for Early Education Research names Alabama’s state-funded, high-quality and voluntary First Class Pre-K program one of the nation’s best programs for quality. Alabama is one of only five states in the country to meet or exceed all of National Institute for Early Education Research’s quality benchmarks. This is the ninth year-in-a-row that Alabama has met or exceeded all of their quality benchmarks. Last month, the Alabama State Senate unanimously approved a $13.5 million increase for Alabama’s voluntary pre-k program in the Education Trust Fund budget bill. If approved by the State House of Representatives and signed into law by Governor Bentley, the increased investments would open at least 145 additional First Class Pre-K classrooms across the state.