Reading Eagle: Group calls for more funding for pre-K programs
September 21, 2017 by Matt Carey

Advocates for publicly funded pre-kindergarten classes said Wednesday that almost two thirds of eligible preschool-age children don’t have the ability to attend quality classes and urged lawmakers to support funding increases for pre-K. Leaders of the statewide Pre-K for PA campaign said their goal is to ensure every student in the state with a financial need can attend publicly funded pre-K by 2022.

Dr. Paul Healey, executive director of the Pennsylvania Principals Association, said that a recent survey conducted by the association showed that 99 percent of elementary school principals in the state agreed that publicly funded, high quality pre-K was an important tool in preparing students for kindergarten.

“School principals know and understand that a quality pre-K experience provides each child entering kindergarten with a growth mindset and a readiness to succeed,” Healey said at a press conference Wednesday at West Pottsgrove Elementary School.

Healey said about 80 percent of principals reported children demonstrated improved math and reading skills, and 57 percent reported children who attended high quality pre-K were less likely to be retained in kindergarten through second grades.

“These are results that will drive savings for our cash-strapped public schools and help to ensure that our children are successful,” Healey said.

“We see firsthand the difference in children who experienced quality pre-K and those who did not,” added Terri Koehler, principal of West Pottsgrove Elementary, which hosts children in kindergarten through second grade.

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