Prioritizing Pre-K in Pennsylvania: A State Comparison

View the Report | State Comparison Sources

High-quality pre-k is an integral component of the commonwealth's education system that lays the foundation for a child's success well beyond their elementary education. An extensive body of research demonstrates the academic and social benefits including a reduced need for remedial services, decreased dropout rates and an increased likelihood of post-secondary education enrollment. Just as important, investments in high-quality pre-k have been linked to reduced incarceration rates and less reliance on public assistance programs, thus saving taxpayer dollars. This report examines the commonwealth's commitment to providing high-quality pre-k compared to 27 other states and the District of Columbia that offer comparable programs. The data shows that despite strong bipartisan support over the past two fiscal years, Pennsylvania ranks in the bottom half of per capita investments for preschool age children. Furthermore, several states have scaled up their programs at a faster rate. With this is mind, the need to build additional high-quality pre-k capacity has never been greater.

A Path Forward Report

View the Report | Interactive Map
School District Data | Data Sources & Methodology

Driven by bi-partisan support, publicly funded, high-quality pre-k was placed as a top state funding priority of the past two state budget cycles…and rightfully so. Access to this vital service is a fundamental building block of our state's education system and helps ensure children have the strong foundation necessary to enter kindergarten ready to learn. Furthermore, research has shown that it can reduce grade repetition, special education placements, and dropout rates. Unfortunately, even with recent increases in state funding, there are over 112,900 eligible children who qualify for high-quality, publicly funded pre-k but remain unserved. This report highlights the unmet need across all 500 Pennsylvania school districts and provides a contextual outlook for rural, suburban, and urban areas of the state. The need to build additional high-quality pre-k capacity is also explored as well as a path our policymakers can take to insure our most at-risk children are afforded the opportunity to participate in high-quality pre-k.

Interactive Map

Accompanying the release of "A Path Forward: Publicly Funded, High-Quality Pre-K in Pennsylvania", web-users will be able to learn more about publicly funded, high-quality pre-k in their local area. Information on the website is available for interactive review at the Pennsylvania House, Senate and school district levels and includes local data on children served, unmet need, the number of high-quality providers, current capacity and much more! Not sure where your legislative districts or school district are on the maps? No problem! Use the convenient search functionality on each map to look up your legislators or school district.