Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) today released its statement on Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2011-12 budget request. The proposed spending plan preserves state resources for pre-K, Head Start and child care, though cuts the funding for full-day kindergarten through the elimination of the Accountability Block Grant.
“We couldn’t be more pleased by the ongoing commitment to pre-K and child care made by this new Administration,” said Joan L. Benso, president and CEO, PA Partnerships for Children.
“Gov. Corbett honored the pledge he made as candidate Corbett when he vowed to continue to invest in early childhood education. And that’s what it is, an investment. It saves us money today, tomorrow and in the years to come.”
Benso noted that children who attend high-quality early learning programs enter kindergarten with better language, reading, math, and social skills and need less remediation, saving schools and taxpayers money. However, while PPC declared the preservation of early childhood education a victory in these tough economic times, the child advocacy organization is deeply concerned about the elimination of the Accountability Block Grant (ABG) which helps schools pay for fullday kindergarten.
Enrollment in full-day K has grown from approximately 35 percent of students to today’s enrollment of more than 68 percent. ABG funds 75 percent of the children who benefit from this important investment.
“We are deeply concerned that many children will not be able to benefit from full-day kindergarten programs.
Like pre-K and child care, full-day kindergarten is a proven investment,” Benso said.
Pennsylvania school districts with full-day kindergarten demonstrate a greater rate of improvement in reading achievement than districts with part-day programs. Research also indicates that children who attend full-day kindergarten experience fewer grade retentions, require less remediation and make more successful transitions to first grade