• Home
  • How Do I Support Pre-K Today?
  • Tools for the Campaign
  • Public Relations Tips & Tools
  • Additional Info
  • Contact Us
How Do I Support Pre-K Today?
Letter to the PA General Assembly


In February 2010, nearly 400 organizations and individuals signed-on to a letter to the members of the General Assembly urging them to make investments in high quality early education and care and integral part of the FY 2010-2011 budget. The letter included a request to restore Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts to $86.4 million and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program to $39.38 million.

February 23, 2010 - Letter to the PA General Assembly
MS Word | PDF

February 22, 2010

Dear Honorable Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

The undersigned organizations and individuals representing a wide array of early childhood education supporters, urge you to make investing in high quality early education and care for Pennsylvania's children an integral part of the Commonwealth's FY 2010-2011 General Fund Budget.

Over the next few months, you will consider ways to balance Pennsylvania's available and projected resources against its commitments and needs. We understand that it will be a challenging undertaking. However, the Commonwealth's children cannot wait for Pennsylvania's economy to rebound. Investments in programs like Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, Child Care Works, and Keystone STARS will improve children's school readiness and help close the achievement gap in the near future.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts will serve 11,800 children this year. In just two years, Pre-K Counts has demonstrated its effectiveness. At the end of the 2008-2009 school year, nearly every child (99 percent) showed age-appropriate or emerging age-appropriate proficiency in literacy, numeracy, and social skills after attending the PA Pre-K Counts program. Of those children who participated in PA Pre-K Counts in 2007-2008, a smaller percentage required Early Intervention services in kindergarten than among the total kindergarten population. Yet, the governor's executive budget cuts the program, resulting in fewer children served in the next fiscal year while waiting lists for the program continue to grow. We request your support in funding Pre-K Counts at its FY 2009-2010 appropriation level of $86.4 million. Cutting this successful program will not save dollars in the long term.

The governor's executive budget also proposes to cut the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. Federally funded Head Start programs serve the Commonwealth's most needy three and four year olds. In 2009-2010, the program expanded access and services to Head Start for 5,700 children. Research has shown that Head Start programs provide educational, economic, health and law enforcement benefits now and into the future. Playing catch-up is less effective and more expensive than making the investment today. We respectfully ask your support in maintaining the Head Start Supplemental at its FY 2009-2010 appropriation of $39.38 million.

A key component to economic recovery is getting people back to work and parents must have reliable child care to work. Children's early experiences from birth through age five can significantly influence later cognitive, behavioral, educational, and economic outcomes. Child Care Works helps support the child care needs of nearly 134,400 children enabling their parent's to work. Keystone STARS is improving the quality of child care programs. Over 177,000 children have access to higher quality early learning opportunities because of Keystone STARS. The governor's budget includes a minimal increase in state funding for child care. We respectfully request your support of the governor's proposal.

However, the child care budget also relies on nearly $41.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars. While this is a prudent investment for the coming fiscal year we must be prepared to replace these federal funds with state resources in future fiscal years. In a recent statewide poll of registered voters, 79 percent of respondents indicated that it was a good use of public dollars to continue to fund this program so that more working families can remain in the workforce.

Strategic investments in Pennsylvania's young children and their families are critical in a healthy or strained economy. We cannot defer the cost of educating our young children when times are tough. We can anticipate that Pennsylvania's commitment to high quality early childhood education will show results that rival national studies demonstrating a return on investment of $16 for every $1 spent. We ask for your commitment, support, and leadership to ensure Pennsylvania's investment these valuable programs is sustained.

Sincerely,

For list of signing individuals and organizations please see the Word or PDF copy of the letters


In February 2009, nearly 800 individuals and organizations agreed to sign onto the letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in support of the Governor's FY 2009-2010 budget proposal to increase funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts $95.053 to serve an additional 1,050 children and provide the resources to remove 2,000 children from the Child Care Works Waiting List.

February 25, 2009 - Letter to the PA General Assembly
MS Word | PDF

February 25, 2009

The Honorable William Adolph Jr.
PA House of Representatives
108 Ryan Office Building
P. O. Box 202165
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Representative Adolph:

The undersigned organizations and individuals, representing a wide array of early childhood education supporters, respectfully urge you to make investing in high quality early education and care for Pennsylvania’s children an integral part of the Commonwealth’s FY 2009-2010 General Fund Budget.

Over the next few months, you begin the challenging task of weighing which investments Pennsylvania makes in this extraordinarily difficult economic climate. The Governor’s budget includes two critical investments in early childhood education: Child Care Works and Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts. Continued investment in these programs will help support Pennsylvania’s workforce now and into the future.

Child Care Works provides an essential support for low-income, working families to gain and sustain employment. Parents of young children cannot work without safe and reliable child care. As families struggle to make ends meet in this weakening economy, more are turning to the Commonwealth for assistance with the high cost of quality child care. Child Care Works uses federal and state dollars to provide subsidies while parents help share the cost of their child care on a sliding fee basis. Child Care Works subsidies help parents go to work knowing that their children are safe, well-cared for, and having positive early learning experiences.

Currently, there are over 15,000 children on the Child Care Works waiting list, which jeopardizes their parents’ ability to keep working. The funding of Child Care Works under the governor’s executive budget would allow about 2,000 more children from low-income working families to receive child care subsidy. We respectfully urge you to support the proposal to increase access to child care assistance.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is providing high-quality, pre-kindergarten to nearly 12,000 three-and four-year olds at-risk of education failure. In its first year, nearly 70% of children participating in PA Pre-K Counts showed age-appropriate skills and behaviors after attending the program indicating their readiness to enter kindergarten prepared to learn. But, only 20% of Pennsylvania’s three- and four-year olds have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs in our state today and over 3,000 children were on waiting lists as programs began last fall. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that public investment in high-quality pre-k improves school achievement, reduces special education spending, reduces juvenile crime, and increases lifetime earnings of the participating children.

The governor’s executive budget provides funding to allow 1,000 more children at risk of education failure to participate in the program. We respectfully urge you to support this modest growth in PA Pre-K Counts. Based on the preliminary results noted above, our children, schools and the Commonwealth are reaping the benefits of this program.

Strong support for state investments in early education exists in every community in the Pennsylvania. We ask that you remember the powerful immediate and long-term impact investments in early childhood education have on Pennsylvania’s children, their families, and future of the Commonwealth’s economy. With your assistance, commitment, and leadership we can continue to support today’s and tomorrow’s workforce even in this trying time.

Sincerely

For list of signing individuals and organizations please see Word or Pdf copies of the letters


More than 800 individuals and organizations agreed to sign onto the letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in support of the Governor's FY 2008-2009 budget proposal to increase funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts by $12.6 million to serve an additional 1,000 children and expand some part-time programs to full-time. Additionally, the letter asked the legislature to support another critical investment of $48.8 million to improve child care programs through Keystone STARS and increase access to child care subsidies through Child Care Works.

The letter noted that even with this investment, more than 8,000 children remain on the child care subsidy waiting list and urged them to increase this investment by an additional $9 million to reduce the child care waiting list by a total of 4,000 children. That letter hit the desk of legislators the first week of June as legislators returned to Harrisburg to begin budget negotiations in earnest.

Let's keep the momentum going!

May 5, 2008 - Download Letter to the PA General Assembly
MS Word | PDF

May 5, 2008

The Honorable Robert Regola
Senate of Pennsylvania
188 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203039
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Senator Regola:

The undersigned organizations and individuals, representing a wide array of early childhood education providers and supporters, respectfully urge you to make investing in high-quality early education and care for Pennsylvania's children an integral part of the Commonwealth's 2008-2009 General Fund Budget.

Pennsylvania has made great strides in recent years in funding high-quality early education and care for our children. State funded programs such as Child Care Works, Head Start, Keystone STARS and Pre-K Counts promote high- quality learning environments. These programs are true investments in Pennsylvania's future. They create and promote successful students, successful communities and are good for the Commonwealth as a whole. However, we need to do more.

Child Care Works keeps Pennsylvania's working families working and helps them afford quality child care for their children. The annual cost of child care for infants and toddlers is double the cost of one year's tuition at one of Pennsylvania's public colleges or universities. It is important that low-income working parents have the assistance they need to remain employed and to ensure their child is being cared for in a quality setting while they are at work.

Pennsylvania's nationally recognized Keystone STARS program is making a difference. Keystone STARS is improving child care quality and helping parents make good child care choices. Evaluation reports show that Keystone STARS is reversing a negative trend in child care quality. Participating programs show higher quality than at the inception of STARS, and programs in Keystone STARS have higher quality than the Pennsylvania average.

We support the Governor's proposed investment of $48.8 million in the improvement of child care programs through Keystone STARS and increased access to child care subsidies through Child Care Works. However, even with this investment, more than 8,000 children remain on the child care subsidy waiting list. We urge the General Assembly to support an additional $9 million investment in next year's budget that will reduce this waiting list by a total of 4,000 children.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is providing high-quality pre-K to approximately 11,000 children across the Commonwealth who are at risk of education failure - giving them the tools they need to succeed in school and life. Research overwhelmingly backs public investments in high-quality pre-K - investments that can yield short-term education savings ranging from $0.78 to $1.16 for every $1 invested, and long-term public savings as high as $17 for every $1 invested. By December 2007, Pre-K Counts sites had waiting lists of more than 2,200 children. Still, just 20 percent of Pennsylvania's 442,000 three- and four-year olds have access to publicly funded, high-quality pre-K programs. We support the Governor's 2008-2009 budget proposal to increase funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts by $12.6 million in order to serve an additional 1,000 children.

As you begin the challenging task of negotiating the fiscal year 2008-2009 budget, we respectfully ask that you remember the powerful impact investments in early childhood education and care programs have on Pennsylvania's children, their families and the future of the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania has proven itself a national leader in its investments and system building in early childhood education and care over the last five years. With your assistance, commitment, and leadership Pennsylvania will continue to have the resources to prepare its youngest children for success into the future.

Sincerely,

For list of signing individuals and organizations please see Word or Pdf copies of the letters.

Top