Education is a core issue for Pennsylvania voters. In fact, 41 percent of voters identify education and schools as one of the most important issues for elected officials to focus on, according to recent polling. In working to make our area schools successful, the organization, Pre-K for PA, spans this priority to include more than just students enrolled in PA area public schools.
Officials with Pre-K for PA say the group brings the focus to early childhood education, stating all local children’s accessibility to a voluntary, high quality Pre-K program could change the true trajectory of our schools success and the bottom line, tax payer dollars.
Pre-K for PA brought their initiative to the local area on Thursday, February 27 by holding an open meeting at the Middletown Township Municipal Building, the meeting was attended by various local public service employees and educators. The informal meeting allowed various members from across the community to speak and become involved in the cause.
The focus of the organization and local schools is one simple concept, that children above all circumstances, should arrive in a Kindergarten program, ready and able to learn and succeed. Preparing more children for this outcome by providing all children with a quality, early childhood education program can take the focus of tax payer dollars away from remedial programs.
According to findings by the Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development, and the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, a child’s brain is 90 percent developed by the time a child turns 5, making early childhood education not only significant, but imperative. According to James Harvey, investment in Pre-K saves taxpayers’ money in the long term by reducing the need for special education and remedial instruction, and increasing the rates of graduation and college enrollment.
David E. Baugh, the current Superintendent of Bensalem Township School District, and previous Principal for a school in North Philadelphia, stated that despite the school being located in one of the roughest areas of town, children began Kindergarten ready to learn because of a high quality, Head Start program in the area. “Kids in the area were ready to start school, and were ahead of children in more successful school districts because of this program,” Baugh stated with passion. “I personally, wholeheartedly, believe in the importance of Pre-K and the role it has in the future of the PA economy.”
Pre-K for PA is a nonpartisan coalition made up of a variety of organizations, who see it as their mission to educate the public and the candidates for governor on the importance of quality education for every three and four year old. While Pre-K for PA does not endorse a particular candidate, they see 2014 as a landmark year for progressing the future of early childhood education and have taken it upon themselves to develop a petition, send letters to political candidates, and raise awareness about the importance and the future of all local children’s education.
Republican Governor Tom Corbett is running for re-election and will face the winner of the Democratic primary on November 4. Listed below are the websites for each of the candidates, if you or your organization is interested in joining Pre-K for PA and stressing the importance of early childhood education in the state of Pennsylvania, Pre-K for PA encourages that you reach out to the candidates, telling them to vote in favor of education this fall.