Under the leadership of its ten partners, Pre-K for PA develops fact sheets and issue briefs that respond to critical questions regarding expanding access to high-quality pre-k in Pennsylvania. These briefs are valuable educational resources for our supporters and decision makers. Click on the titles to download the documents.


Pre-K for PA Fact Sheet:

Defining high-quality pre-k as an investment in the economic and educational success of Pennsylvania
What is High-Quality Pre-K?

Driving Program Eligibility Toward Higher Quality:

Investing in the economic success and intellectual infrastructure of Pennsylvania
Impact of Pre-K on K-12

Pre-K & K-12:

The impact of high-quality pre-kindergarten on K-12 education

Pre-k in Your County

To learn more about the state of pre-k in your county, click on an individual county in the map below. Click on the STATEWIDE tab above to download a summary of pre-k in Pennsylvania. Citations for the data are listed under the NOTES tab. To learn more about how pre-k will benefit economic development in your region, click on the BUSINESS CASE for Pre-K tab.

What’s the state of pre-k in your county?

Click on the map below to download the most current statewide summary of pre-k in Pennsylvania.



Each fact sheet includes data points from “School Readiness Report: Pennsylvania’s Youngest Learners Have Waited Long Enough” county-level data tables found at http://www.papartnerships.org/publication_files/school-readiness-data-sheets-feb-2015.pdf.

High-quality pre-k includes: an unduplicated count of PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, and Keystone STARS 3 and 4 enrollments; Head Start; public school pre-k; accredited or PDE licensed nursery school; and providers accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association for Family Child Care, National Early Childhood Program Accreditation, and Council On Accreditation.

Publicly funded, high-quality pre-k includes: the unduplicated count of PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program and Child Care Works enrollments in Keystone STARS 3 and 4; Head Start; and public school pre-k.

Strengthening Pennsylvania Business Through Investments in Pre-Kindergarten

One of the keys to sustained economic growth in Pennsylvania is to generate additional sales of local goods and services, while also creating new jobs. That is why the Pre-K for PA campaign asked researchers from ReadyNation to model the impact of significant expansion of Pennsylvania’s high-quality pre-k system and its potential impact on the economy of the state and its major economic regions. These reports document that investments in early learning provide a significant, immediate economic boost for local businesses and help build stronger communities over the long term. Click below for regional data on the business case for pre-k.

Strengthening Business in the Capital RegionStrengthening Business in Erie County
Strengthening Business in the Lancaster-York RegionStrengthening Business in the Lehigh Valley
Strengthening Business in the NortheastStrengthening Business in the Southeast
Strengthening Business in the Southwest Strengthening Business in the State College Region

The Pre-K for PA campaign draws its strength in part from the deep research experience of our founding coalition organizations. The reports below were funded, researched, and compiled by Pre-K coalition partners. Although they are not properly credited to the Pre-K for PA campaign, they underscore the common critical conclusion that when all children have access to high-quality pre-k, opportunities expand, our schools improve, and Pennsylvania grows stronger.


Pre-K Works, So Why Not PA?

Pennsylvania ranks 18th out of 30 states that make public investments in high-quality pre-k. This is despite having increased its per capita investment by $30 million for the current fiscal year.
Elementary School Principals Resoundingly Support Pre-K Investments
Elementary School Principals Resoundingly Support Pre-K Investments details findings of a recent statewide survey of elementary school principals to better understand their perception of high-quality pre-k and its importance in building the foundation necessary for children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Nearly 99 percent agree that publicly funded, high-quality pre-k is an important tool for preparing children for kindergarten, particularly those at risk.

Sources and Citations
Pre-K Key to Cutting Pennsylvania Prison Costs and Boosting School Success
The more than 5,000 law enforcement leaders around the nation who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids— including 175 here in Pennsylvania— have a direct message for everyone who cares about the impact and cost of crime: Pay now or pay much more later.
Prioritizing Pre-K in Pennsylvania: A State Comparison
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) released a report 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.
High-Quality Early Education Can Help Kids Win the Academic 'Medal Race' (Champions for America's Future, 2017)
The report brings to light new data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showing that American children are far back in the pack when it comes to the international “medal count” on academic achievement. America’s 15-year-old children finished 25th in science and 40th in math out of the 72 countries taking the (OECD) PISA exam in 2015. This is in stark contrast to the USA’s dominating performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics winning 121 medals compared to second-place China’s 70 medals.
A Path ForwardThe Path Forward: Publicly Funded, High-Quality Pre-k in Pennsylvania
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.
Case for Pre-k BackdropThe Case for Pre-K in PA
Smart Investment in Kids, Communities and Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania Can Pay Now or Pay Much More Later (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2016)
If Pennsylvania invests in pre-kindergarten now, we can save over $350 million
Pennsylvania Prek4PAPPC School Readiness Report (Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, 2015)
PA Partnerships for Children’s annual report details how well Pennsylvania is doing in preparing its youngest children for school by gauging progress on several child well-being indicators, including access to high-quality pre-k and child care, health insurance coverage and early intervention services.
joint logoThe Business Case in PA for Early Childhood Investments (ReadyNation, 2015)
Strengthening business through effective investments in children and youth
Strengthening PA Businesses through Investments in Pre-K (ReadyNation, 2014)
Investments increase local businesses sales, create jobs, and grow the economy
The Military Gets It (Mission: Readiness, 2014)

High-quality pre-kindergarten is crucial for youth a centerpiece of the military's child development system
benefits_of_high_quality_prekThe Benefits of High-Quality Pre-K

Making a Healthy Investment in Child Development: A report from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
REPORT_COVER_STEMSTEM and Early Childhood - When Skills Take Root (Mission:Readiness & ReadyNation, 2016)

Pennsylvania businesses and the military warn of STEM workforce skills gap; urge greater access to pre-k.
Pre-K: Additional Resources

Other Reports and Resources on Pre-Kindergarten

Here we’ve assembled a robust list of the most significant data and research on pre-kindergarten. Wherever possible, we provide the most recent reports available. Included are important benchmark studies, research specific to Pennsylvania, reports from other states, and issue-focused studies such as financing pre-k and fade out.

Impact of Publicly-Funded Pre-k in PA

Impact of Publicly-Funded Pre-k in PA

Pre-K Counts in Pennsylvania for Youngsters’ Early School Success (Early Childhood Partnerships, 2009)

  • Researchers analyzed the Pre-K Counts program in 21 school districts within Pennsylvania and found significant academic and behavioral improvements for at-risk children.

Children’s Progress Update: Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts (PA Department of Education, 2012-13)

  • In the state’s most recent report, children participating in Pre-K Counts showed significant academic, emotional, and social development.

Making the Business Case in PA

Making the Business Case in PA

Strengthening Pennsylvania Business through Investments in Pre-Kindergarten (ReadyNation, 2014)

  • Analysis conducted by ReadyNation reveals the potential short-term and long-term economic gains for Pennsylvania resulting from investments in high-quality pre-k.

Investment in Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Programs Payoff Now and Later (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2011)

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts presents a report on the short and long-term academic and economic impacts of high-quality early education programs for Pennsylvania.

The Military Gets It: High-quality Pre-Kindergarten Is Crucial for Youth Readiness and a Centerpiece of the Military’s Child Development System (Mission: Readiness Military Leaders for Kids, 2014)

  • This report describes the military’s program to provide high quality pre-k services to families while also examining high quality pre-k programs in other states, including Pennsylvania, that show gains in literacy and reduction in students needing special education services.
Financing High-Quality Pre-k

Financing High-Quality Pre-k

Improving Public Financing for Early Learning Programs (NIEER, 2011)

  • This paper describes the current streams of funding for public early education programs and highlights the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to funding universal pre-k initiatives.

Pay for Success Financing for Early Childhood Programs: A Path Forward (Institute for Child Success, 2014)

  • This report explains what “pay for success” financing is and how it can (and is) being used to expand access to effective early childhood education programs including home visiting programs, early intervention programs, and pre-k programs.
General Pre-k Research

General Pre-k Research

Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education (Society for Research in Child Development and Foundation for Child Development, 2013)

  • The report reviews research showing the large-scale early childhood education programs can be run effectively and provide benefits to children in low-income families and also improve outcomes for children from working- and middle-class families.

The Economic Promise of Investing in High-Quality Preschool (CED and PEW, 2006)

  • A report by Center for Economic Development (CED) and the Pew Charitable Trusts (PEW) presents the most comprehensive study of high-quality pre-k programs in the US. This study details not only educational and economic gains of pre-k, but financing and investing information and spending and enrollment figures of public pre-k programs in each state.

The Case for Pre-K Education Reform (PEW, 2010)

  • In 2010, Pew Charitable Trusts (PEW) produced a round-up of the evaluations of large-scale public pre-k programs in California, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. High-quality pre-k proved to have significant and positive impacts on the academic and behavioral skills of children enrolled in the program.

Expanding Access to Quality Pre-K is Sound Policy (NIEER, 2013)

  • This paper provides a review of all the evidence about effective preschool education and long-term cognitive benefits. It also estimates the state budgetary impacts of expanding public pre-k to all children under the 200% poverty level.

The State of Preschool 2013 (NIEER, 2013)

  • The latest annual report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) profiles how publicly funded pre-k programs are faring and provides detail on the current levels of access to and quality of pre-k programs in each state.

I’m the Guy You Pay Later: Sheriffs, Chiefs, and Prosecutors Urge America to Cut Crime by Investing Now in High-Quality Early Education and Care (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2013)

  • In a report conducted by Fight Crime, law enforcement leaders advocate for investment in high-quality pre-K to put at-risk children on the track to long-term academic success, as well as to lower crime rates.

A Well-Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity (Economic Analysis and Research Network, 2013)

  • In a recent study conducted by the Economic Analysis and Research Network, researchers show how investing in high-quality K-12 education can improve workforce indicators, such as productivity and wages.

Pre-K for Every Child: A Matter of Fairness (First Focus, 2013)

  • This study, conducted by First Focus, examines the limited supply of publicly funded pre-K, how the cost of high-quality private pre-K fits into the budget of low-income, working families, and what this means for pre-K participation.
Addressing Fade Out

Addressing “Fade Out”

Facts about Fadeout – The Research Base on Long-Term Impacts of High Quality Pre-K (CEELO, 2014)

  • In a study conducted by Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, researchers used cognitive test scores of pre-k participating and non-participating children and found that the impact of high-quality pre-k does not “fade out” over a child’s academic career.

Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications (NIEER, 2008)

  • This study of high-quality pre-k outcomes, outlines the long-lasting behavioral and academic benefits to participating children of all socio-economic backgrounds.
Other State Evaluations

State Evaluations

Georgia – Effects of Georgia’s Pre-K Program on Children’s School Readiness Skills (Franklin Porter Graham Child Development Institute, 2014)

  • This study found that participation in Georgia’s Pre‐K Program resulted in significantly better school readiness skills across domains of learning. Whether or not children were from low‐income families or were girls or boys, they derived similar benefits from participation in the program.

Michigan – Michigan Great Start Readiness Program Evaluation 2012: High School Graduation and Grade Retention Findings (HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 2012)

  • A study on Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) for 4-year-olds found the program helps students avoid grade repetition and increases graduation rates. The study looked followed students who attended the program in 1995-1996 and 258 students of the same age and background who did not attend the program. 57 percent of the group that attend the preschool program graduated from high school compared to 43 percent of the group that did not attend the program.

Louisiana – LA 4 Longitudinal Study: The Impact of LA 4 Participation on Academic Achievement in 3rd & 4th Grade (Picard Center, 2011)

  • LA 4 was launched in January 2002 as part of a strategy to close the achievement gap between children from lower-income families and their peers from better-off families. Research on four cohorts of children show the program has improved school preparedness and later school achievement for children from low-income families. These benefits extend through 4th grade (the highest grade for which data are available).

New Jersey – Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study: Fifth Grade Follow-Up (NIEER, 2013)

  • This 4th and 5th grade APPLES follow-up study found that Abbott preschool programs increased achievement in Language Arts and Literacy, Math, and Science and decreased grade retention and special education placement rates. The study also looked at the impact of one vs. two years of pre-k and found that two-years of pre-K beginning at age 3 had larger persistent effects on achievement than did one year.

Oklahoma – Preschool Programs Can Boost School Readiness (Science Magazine, 2008)

  • This study found that kindergarteners who attended the Tulsa pre-K program were 9 months ahead of their peers in reading, 7 months ahead in writing, and 5 months ahead in math. While disadvantaged students benefited more, both disadvantaged and middle-class students had statistically significant and substantively significant gains in test scores.

Voters for Pre-K

Pre-K for PA hired a bi-partisan polling team to conduct two polls among PA voters in the fall of 2013 and 2014. The results? There is strong voter support to ensure all children can access high-quality pre-k.    Click below to download the Lake & Bellwether polling results for both years.

2014 poll memo

What do PA voters think about pre-k?

2013 poll memo

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Pre-K for PA's work is possible only through generous contributions from the 1675 Foundation, The Donley Foundation, GE Employees Community Service Fund, The Heinz Endowments, The Lenfest Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, Samuel S. Fels Fund, and William Penn Foundation.

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