About 140,000 children will be born in Pennsylvania this year, and they’ll be preschool age in 2018. Those young learners don’t get to delay pre-k until we can make it more available, so we need to get to work now to make sure it will be there when they need it.
There already are more than 200,000 Pennsylvania 3- and 4-year-olds each year who are missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity. That’s a lot of missed opportunities that we all end up paying for in the long run.
To help achieve the Pre-K for PA campaign’s goal of making high-quality pre-k available to every family that wants it for their child, Pennsylvania needs to aggressively ramp up its investments over the next four years.
It will take about $400 million in additional state investments just to increase access to children at greatest risk of academic failure. If Pennsylvania increases investments by $120 million this year and a total of $280 million more over the following three years, we can meet our goal.
That means an at-risk child born today could benefit from at least one year of high-quality pre-k before he or she heads off to kindergarten.
An additional $100 million directed to families over the income cap for our pre-kindergarten programs over the next four years will help us take an important additional step to serve 20 percent of middle-income kids.
If we fall short of the much-needed $120 million additional investment this year, it will require larger increases in later years and leave more 3- and 4-year-olds missing out next school year. These kids don’t get a do-over if they miss out on high-quality pre-k. For them, delayed investments means lost opportunities.
Read more fact sheets from the Pre-K for PA Campaign at www.prekforpa.org.