PPC Releases its 2008 School Readiness Report
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) today released its annual report on School Readiness in Pennsylvania showing that investments in early education are paying dividends in later school success. The report is designed to give policymakers and community leaders the information they need to track the outcomes of their investments and to target resources for the future. In this year's report, the state improved on 10 of 16 indicators and lost ground on three. (There were no updates available for the remaining three indicators.)
The report shows that full-day kindergarten is making a difference in later school achievement: Schools with students attending full-day K in 2004-05 improved their third-grade reading proficiency scores on the 2007-08 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) twice as much as schools where students attended part-day programs.
Furthermore, the report indicates that enrollment in school readiness programs - such as pre-kindergarten - has reached an all-time high, due in part to an aggressive state investment strategy. More than 58,000 three- and four-year-olds attended high-quality pre-K programs this past school year funded by Pre-K Counts, Head Start and basic education funding. But when all the state and federal funds are combined, Pennsylvania still has only committed enough funding to serve 20 percent of our preschool children.
"Pennsylvania continues to receive high marks fr its commitment to school readiness initiatives including pre-kindergarten, full-day kindergarten and access to health insurance," said Joan L. Benso, president & CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. "While we are making great headway in Pennsylvania, we must be vigilant in our efforts and continue to invest in education strategies that help ensure that every child enters school ready to learn and has the education experience he or she needs to reach his or her full potential."
"While money isn't everything, clearly resources matter. This year's improved third-grade PSSA scores show a clear connection to children who attended full-day kindergarten. This demonstrates that funding connected to common-sense accountability reaps rewards for our children," Benso said.
"We must continue to make investments in proven school readiness programs like pre-kindergarten and an adequate and equitable school funding formula a top government priority. The action taken by the General Assembly this July to pass a rational school funding formula was the most important step taken for children in our state in decades. Fulfilling our commitment to the education funding goals agreed to this summer is of critical importance to the later life success of our children."
More information may be obtained by visiting www.papartnerships.org or by calling Kathy Geller Myers, PPC Communications Director, at 717-236-5680, firstname.lastname@example.org.