Gant News: LTE: United Way Asks for Commonwealth’s Support of Pre-K Programs
February 3, 2016
Members of the Clearfield Area United Way believe in early-learning/school readiness. CAUW member agencies are making differences in the lives of children daily; our Reading Ripples program has distributed 3,500 books to area children.
Research continues to confirm that high-quality Pre-K programs are among the best and most cost-effective initiatives.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 300,000 3- and 4-year-olds, including 1,700 in Clearfield County. Only a small fraction of these children are enrolled in publicly-funded Pre-K programs.
Many of those missing out are those at risk of academic failure. In fact, 542 kids in all lacked access to a publicly-funded, high-quality Pre-K program last year.
Community philanthropic organizations have made efforts to promote high-quality Pre-K programs but cannot get the job done alone.
We need the Commonwealth to bolster its efforts to fund Pre-K programs and to reach those children who are missing out.
A new report by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and the non-partisan Pre-K for PA, outlines a multi-year investment that could help reach nearly 71,000 additional 3- and 4-year-olds over a four-year span.
If Pennsylvania were to follow through on the investment strategy proposed, it could make publicly-funded, quality Pre-K available to more than 40 percent by 2019. This is compared to the fewer than 20 percent who benefited in 2013.
We could reach all of our Commonwealth’s at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds and help them to succeed.
United Way and other organizations across Pennsylvania have been doing their part to make Pre-K a priority because we know it works.
It benefits our children, our communities and our entire Commonwealth. We are requesting the Commonwealth to step up now and make Pre-K a budget priority this year and in the years ahead so our region’s children can reach the fullest potential.
Nancy M. Pinto
Clearfield Area United Way