Early Childhood Education

In Pennsylvania only 1 in 6 children have access to high-quality, publicly-funded pre-kindergarten programs. A report completed by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children found that nearly 250,000 3-and 4-year olds cannot attend pre-K programs because their families cannot find or afford a program.

Pennsylvania must increase its investment in early childhood education programs.

  • Early education is critical in a child’s education, enabling them to be better prepared academically and helping to close the achievement gap.  Pre-K and full day kindergarten programs also enable parents to work and help reduce employee absenteeism
  • Quality early childhood programs have the largest effects on high-risk, traditionally underserved children during the most important cognitive and social developmental period of their lives.
  • Early childhood investments are helping Pennsylvania close the achievement gap and produce the qualified workers the state and the nation need for a prosperous future.1
  • Improvements in access, quality and accountability are needed to ensure that Pennsylvania’s children and taxpayers reap the benefits promised by the research of high-quality programs.2
  • A growing body of research continues to demonstrate that high-quality, publicly funded pre-k yields positive short- and long-term benefits for participating children, taxpayers, the economy and state and local school reform efforts.3
  • A study shows that a targeted pre-k program costing $298 million in 2008 would yield total benefits – savings and higher revenues to government budgets, increased earnings to participants’ families and reduced costs to crime victims – sufficient to pay for itself within eight years. In nine years it would pay for itself in government budget benefits alone.4

Investment in PA’s early childhood programs pay off now and later, Pew Center on the States, March 2011
Investment in PA’s early childhood programs pay off now and later, Pew Center on the States, March 2011

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