PreK for PA seeks advocates to press for more preK support

On Super Bowl Sunday, Vikings stadium was filled to capacity. Now imagine it filled almost TWICE with kids from PA. Right now, 106,200 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds in the commonwealth start kindergarten behind their peers who were given the opportunity to attend a high-quality pre-k classroom.

A new report, Pre-K Works, So Why Not PA?, released this month by Pre-K for PA principal partner organization Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children shows that PA ranks 18th out of the 30 states that make public investments in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k, despite having increased its per capita investment by $30 million for the current fiscal year.

Neighboring New York invests $812 million in state funding for publicly funded pre-k annually compared to Pennsylvania's $226.4 million - we're falling behind. We are behind West Virginia, Georgia and Oklahoma, all of which offer pre-k to every 4-year-old child. And, we're late to the game. West Virginia launched its pre-k program in 1983 and made it universal in 2012; Pre-K Counts in PA didn't begin until 2007.

Three in five eligible PA kids do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k. These statistics make this a pressing, electoral issue and we are committed to make it the top issue among gubernatorial and statehouse candidates.

Pre-K for PA is looking for volunteers to help get this message out to all candidates running for office this November, and we're counting on you to help. The May primaries are almost 100 days away - it's time to get to work! In life there is no instant replay. Sign up to help us today!

During events held over the past two weeks, business and non-profit leaders as well as former Governors Ed Rendell and Mark Schweiker, joined Pre-K for PA to discuss the importance of supporting candidates who prioritize pre-k.

"We've got a big decision to make this November when we head to the polls to elect a new governor. Candidates seeking public office must commit to getting Pennsylvania out of the bottom half of states and make it a top state for pre-k investments." - Former Governor Ed Rendell

"High-quality pre-kindergarten is not a luxury. It is an investment in Pennsylvania's economy. An educated workforce is essential if Pennsylvania hopes to compete in the regional and global marketplace, and high-quality pre-k helps prepare our future workforce for success." - Former Governor Mark Schweiker