State should support preschool initiatives

The May 6 article in the Mirror on the National Institute for Early Education Research study of state preschool programs correctly highlighted that Pennsylvania is one of only four states with a reduction of more than 10 percent in preschool enrollment last school year.

But the headline, “Preschool funding rebounds” was misleading, or at the least premature.

According to the national report, Pennsylvania not only served fewer children last year, but also spent $823 less per preschool student than two years earlier.

As your article noted, that means fewer families in Blair County and around the state had access to quality preschool.

Investments in early childhood education make good sense.

They save taxpayers money in the long run by reducing the need for remedial instruction and special education later and studies show quality preschool can help reduce dropout rates, crime and incarceration down the road.

The good news is that Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed more money to expand preschool programs like Pre-K Counts, Head Start and Rising STARS for the 2013-14 budget year. But those increases still must be passed by the state legislature.

That is why it is important for all of us in the Blair County region to contact our state representatives and senators and tell them to support and expand on the governor’s proposed preschool funding increases.

Chelsea Hallinan

Curriculum Manager, PA Pre-K Counts Program

Begin With Us Child Care and Preschool