Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Letter to Editor: Let’s keep the momentum for pre-k in Pennsylvania
January 29, 2017 by Allen Kukovich
I was encouraged to read Mount Aloysius College president Tom Foley’s piece “Invest in the Bookends of Education” (Jan. 1 Forum). He got it right! All of the benefits correlated with access to high-quality pre-K that Mr. Foley described help explain this groundswell of support for it.
Over the past three years, I have supported an effort known as Pre-K for PA, which is urging greater state investments in high-quality prekindergarten. Statewide, 112,900 3- and 4-year-olds who qualify for publicly funded, high-quality prekindergarten are not served. That’s more than 64 percent of eligible children, according to “A Path Forward: Publicly Funded High-Quality Pre-K in Pennsylvania,” from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. This unmet need is fueling a wide array of voices supporting the goals of the campaign.
Our efforts are paying off! In the past two-years, under the shadow of a difficult political atmosphere, leaders in Harrisburg chose to prioritize pre-K by providing 6,000 more kids access.
Clearly, this is the time to keep the pre-K momentum going and help all children fulfill their promise. We believe that Gov. Tom Wolf will, once again, prioritize new investments for pre-K in his upcoming budget proposal. The Pre-K for PA movement is calling for an $85 million investment to serve an additional 10,000 children.
By uniting to make these pre-K investments a top priority, we assure that our children, families and communities reap the benefits of preparedness for school and life that Mr. Foley described. Let’s tell our leaders in Harrisburg to position access to pre-K as a top legislative priority and make 2017 the Year of the Child.
The writer, a former member of the Pennsylvania Senate and House, is on the Pre-K for PA advisory council.
Read the Letter to the Editor here.