Make Pre-k Available for Every Child

  • by: Pre-K Now
  • target: Rep. George Miller, Chair, and Rep. Buck McKeon, Ranking Member, House Committee on Education and Labor

For the first time in four years, the number of governors recommending increases in pre-k funding declined. With 22 states facing deficits, the economic downturn felt coast to coast threatens to halt years of positive momentum to make quality pre-k available to every three and four year old.

The Pre-K Act would change that by providing billions of dollars to support preschool programs nationwide. It would:

* reduce student-teacher ratios;
* recruit and retain qualified teachers with bachelor's degrees in early childhood education;
* address the cultural and linguistic needs of English Language Learners;
* provide full-day vs. half-day programs, and
* other activities that support program quality.

Preschool has proven to be highly beneficial to children, preparing them mentally and socially for their upcoming education. Quality preschool shouldn't be only available to the wealthy. Make it possible for every child -- sign the letter today.

I am writing to express my strong support for the PRE-K Act, introduced by Rep. Mazie Hirono, which would expand access to pre-k programs for our nation's four year olds. I urge you to move this bill to the top of your committee's agenda.

We have a narrow window of opportunity in each child's life when early education can set him or her on a trajectory for success. Delaying this legislation is denying millions of American children the chance to enter school ready and confident. Ask any Kindergarten teacher: too many of today's five year olds are starting school without the social, emotional, and academic foundations they need to thrive. At just the moment when their capacity for learning is greatest, most of them don't have access to quality pre-k programs.

The PRE-K Act specifically addresses this critical gap in the nation's education system. The bill would award grants, on a competitive basis, to states so that they can raise the quality of their pre-k programs using the best, research-based standards. After high quality standards are in place, states would be able to use the funds to increase the availability of pre-k across a variety of settings, including schools, Head Start providers, and community-based settings such as child care centers.

[Your Comment]

Pre-k education must be available to all children, not just the most disadvantaged or the most wealthy. I hope you will give this legislation immediate and serious consideration.
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