Carlisle Sentinel: Letter to the Editor: Commit Resources to Early Learning
February 22, 2018
Having raised four children all of whom attended pre-k programs over 20 years ago, I know that early learning programs provide children with opportunities to learn essential emotional and cognitive skills. Children in pre-k learn social skills, such as sharing, empathy, and self-control and gain exposure to pre-math and pre-literacy activities. My first grandchild is now in a high-quality child care program and preparing to begin his pre-k experience next school year.
Knowing the value of these programs, I commend Gov. Wolf for his $23 million proposal for child care services as well as his commitment to the state’s expansion of pre-k with a new $40 million investment which will serve 4,400 more kids. However, what about the more than 100,000 Pennsylvania kids who will still not get the opportunity to start kindergarten on par with my grandson and other classmates who were able to experience a pre-k education?
Pennsylvania ranks only 18th of the 30 states investing in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k. New Jersey is spending five times more per capita than Pennsylvania and West Virginia is leaps ahead of Pennsylvania providing universal access for pre-k aged kids since 2012.
If Pennsylvania wants to compete, we must commit resources to early learning. I hope and urge the legislature to fully fund the governor’s $40 million pre-k investment — it is an absolutely necessary, all be it a relatively small, step toward reaching those more than 100,000 Pennsylvania kids who otherwise will totally miss this chance!