Governor Wolf Discusses Budget’s Commitment to Increase Early Childhood Education

March 20, 2015

Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today addressed a major part of his 2015-2016 budget, which aims to increase enrollment in early childhood education by 75 percent. Speaking before 1,500 early childhood educators at the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) Annual Conference in Philadelphia, the Governor made clear his commitment to making affordable, quality pre-kindergarten education available to all children across the commonwealth.

“Children who participate in high-quality pre-k programs perform better in school, graduate at higher rates and earn more throughout their lives compared to peers who do not have access to early learning programs,” Governor Wolf said. “Unfortunately, only one third of the state’s three-year-olds and four-year-olds have access to such programs. This needs to change.”

Governor Wolf’s budget reflects a $120 million increase in early childhood education funding, which will allow over 14,000 additional children in Pennsylvania to enroll in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance programs.

The Governor said this is just the first step toward a four-year goal of increasing state funding for pre-k by $2 billion.

“The key investments I propose will help develop career training programs for the teachers and caregivers who work in pre-k schools, support stronger licensing and certifications for early child education providers, and prioritize special populations in need of quality early childhood education options,” the Governor added.

The Governor’s budget also clarifies that pre-kindergarten providers may use a portion of their funds for transportation, eliminating a major barrier for many families.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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