Gant News: LTE: High-quality Pre-K Investments Needed to Prepare Children for Success
April 24, 2017
In Clearfield County, too many of our children aren’t getting the opportunity to attend high-quality pre-kindergarten. As a result, they fall short of their full potential.
High-quality Pre-K matters because it coincides with those years when the brain is busy building the connections and neurological pathways that will enable learning, critical thinking and other behaviors.
Research tells us that high-quality Pre-K is especially beneficial for children from low-income families, helping to put them at the same starting line as their peers by the time they start school.
By investing in high-quality Pre-K, we give kids a strong start, while yielding returns that are both immediate and long-lasting.
However, Pennsylvania’s investment in early learning is lagging. More than 112,900 eligible pre-school children aren’t served by high-quality, publicly-funded Pre-K, even though they qualify.
More than 45 percent of all eligible children living in low-income families in Clearfield County don’t have the opportunity to attend publicly-funded, high-quality Pre-k, including children in these school districts:
- Glendale School District: 100 percent of eligible children, or an estimated 86 kids.
- Dubois Area School District: 47 percent of eligible children, or an estimated 209 kids.
These findings aren’t unusual. You can learn more in Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children’s recently released report, “A Path Forward,” at www.papartnerships.org/prekinpa.
It’s time to close the opportunity gap. We need to make public investments that ensure a strong and well-financed child care system that serves as the foundation of effective Pre-K delivery.
By investing in high-quality Pre-K for all kids who need it, including the $75 million funding increase proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf for the upcoming fiscal year, we start building the foundation that assures children grow up into productive, self-sufficient citizens, contributing to our workforce and joining our community as good neighbors.
Nancy M. Pinto, CPO
Clearfield Area United Way