New report urges 2018 election candidates to support pre-k investments to improve PA’s economic competitiveness.
The 2017-18 state budget passed by the Senate this morning and headed to the House demonstrates a bi-partisan compromise that prioritizes children. Following the governor’s lead set in his budget request, Democrats and Republicans came together and prioritized the state’s 2.8 million children by increasing state investments in child welfare, early learning and K-12 education.
Lawmakers often say they are working to make the world a better place for our children. If that’s the case, members of the state Legislature should take a close look at a proposal by Gov. Tom Wolf to boost pre-kindergarten funding by $75 million in the next state budget.
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) released a report today in its role as a principal partner of the Pre-K for PA Campaign that commends Pennsylvania for making increased state investments in publicly funded, high-quality pre-k but highlighting that the commonwealth is lagging behind many other states, including economic competitors, in its per capita investment. PPC President and CEO Joan L. Benso was joined at a state capitol press conference by Governor Tom Wolf, Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, York County business leader Michael Smeltzer and other partners in the campaign.
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.