Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, a great time to recognize the critical role teachers have in student success – a role that begins in a child’s earliest years.
The Pre-K for PA campaign is working to ensure high-quality pre-k is available to every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania. A core ingredient of high-quality pre-k programs is degreed teachers with early childhood training. (In Pennsylvania, such programs include Pre-K Counts, Head Start, private academic nursery schools, STAR 3 and 4 child care programs and pre-k operated by public schools.)
Fortunately, all publicly funded pre-k programs in Pennsylvania require teachers to have college degrees and early childhood training. Unfortunately, only about 1 in 6 of Pennsylvania’s 3- and 4-year-olds have access to publicly funded, high-quality pre-k.
Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed an additional $120 million in pre-k funding for fiscal 2015-16 that would allow about 14,000 more young learners to benefit from publicly funded, high-quality pre-k. This investment would increase access from 1 in 6 of Pennsylvania’s 3- and 4-year-olds to about 1 in 4. It’s a big step in the right direction, but Pennsylvania will need multiple years of increased investments to reach the goal of making high-quality pre-k universally accessible.
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