Governor Wolf Receives Award for Commitment to Early Childhood Education

May 08, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf hosted a press conference with Pre-K for PA to discuss the importance of funding early childhood education. The governor also accepted the 2017 Pre-K Champion Award from Pre-K for PA for his commitment to ​investing in and supporting high-quality early childhood education in the Commonwealth.

“Early childhood education is one of the most effective interventions we can make in the lives of our children,” said Governor Wolf. “It is proven that children who participate in high quality pre-k perform better in school later on. They graduate at higher rates, they learn more now, and they earn more later. Good early childhood education levels the playing field for high and low income students.”

Fair and increased education funding for Pennsylvania schools has been a priority for Governor Wolf and his administration since taking office. In this year’s budget, Governor Wolf is proposing an additional $209 million increase in education funding.

The 2017-18 budget investments in education include:

  • $100 million increase in Basic Education Funding. Following $415 million in basic education and Ready to Learn Block Grant funding increases over the past two fiscal years, this increase will be distributed through the Basic Education Funding Formula, providing an equitable and predictable allocation to school districts across the commonwealth.
  • $25 million increase in Special Education Funding. This increase, allocated to school districts through the formula adopted by the bipartisan legislative Special Education Funding Commission, builds upon a $50 million increase over the last two years.
  • $75 million increase in high-quality early childhood education. 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 without access to early learning programs. Building upon $60 million in additional investment over the past two years, this nearly 40 percent increase in funding will allow more than 8,400 additional children to enroll in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.
  • $8.9 million increase for the 14 universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The governor will continue to work with PASSHE to develop individual college plans that address performance, affordability, and accountability, while partnering with employers to create structured career pathways.

The Pre-K for PA campaign was founded in 2014 to build on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to enter school ready to succeed. The campaign works to ensure that early childhood education is a top priority for lawmakers by advocating for increased access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year olds across Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and the Pre-K for PA campaign’s newly released report, “Prioritizing Pre-K in Pennsylvania: A State Comparison,” shows that the commonwealth, 27 other states and the District of Columbia have all made the wise choice to invest in high-quality pre-k. However, Pennsylvania ranks 20th among these jurisdictions in per capita investment. These are challenging state budget times but we look to the legislature to build on the $25 million included in the House enacted budget and move towards the $75 million increase proposed by Governor Wolf,” said Joan L. Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

The goal for Pre-K for PA is that by 2022, every at-risk child will have access to high-quality pre-k programs and middle-income families will more easily afford these services for their children.

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