AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A VIRTUAL EARLY LEARNING PILOT PROGRAM FOR PRESCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN.
Requires the State Board of Education (Board), in consultation with the specified entities, to establish a three-year virtual early learning pilot program, known as UpStart. The program is to target at risk preschool age children to develop school readiness skills and is to (1) evaluate the effectiveness of giving preschool-age children access, at home, to interactive individualized instruction delivered by computers and the Internet to prepare them academically for success in school; and (2) test the feasibility of scaling a home-based curriculum in reading, math, and science delivered by computers and the Internet to all preschool-age children in the State.
Requires the Board to develop and issue a request for proposal to contract with a third-party. Sets out eight items that the contractor selected to conduct the pilot program must do. Requires the Board to select up to 10 local education agencies to participate and sets criteria for selecting those participants.
Requires soliciting families to participate in the program using a public information campaign and referrals from participating LEAs. Requires selecting qualifying children through a random lottery and sets out eligibility requirements for those children, including that the child be at-risk, as defined.
Requires an annual report on the pilot to the specified NCGA committee by November 30; specifies eight items to be included in the report.
Appropriates $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for each year of the 2019-21 biennium from the General Fund to the Board to provide funding for participating in the pilot program. Requires that for 2021-22 only, the Director of the Budget also include in the base budget the amount of nonrecurring funds needed to support the pilot program.
Effective July 1, 2019.