The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Union County

March 6, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey reveals early childhood education plan

Washington -- Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., today unveiled an education proposal that works to provide at least one year of pre-kindergarten to children in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

Since 2007, Casey has made access to pre-K education one of his top priorities. In each Congress, HE has introduced initiatives to advance the goal of universal pre-K and has advocated for increased investment in early learning.

“One of the most important steps we can take for our economy and our children is to invest in early education,” Casey said. “Having at least one year of pre-K will better prepare our children in an increasingly competitive global economy. Every child deserves a chance to develop their talents, and a year of pre-K is essential to doing that.”

During the State of the Union address, President Obama called for an early learning initiative. Casey’s plan would create a partnership between the states and federal government on pre-K education for children.

Children who attend high-quality preschool are more successful in school, more likely to graduate from high school, and more likely to become productive adults who contribute to the U.S. economy.  Moreover, research shows that every dollar invested in high-quality pre-kindergarten can save as much as $7 in other costs, including crime, welfare and remedial and special education. 

The Prepare All Kids Act will:

  • Provide at least one year of voluntary pre-kindergarten, with a focus on children from low-income families and children with special needs. 
  • Require pre-kindergarten programs to use a research-based curriculum that supports children’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development and individual learning styles. 
  • Limit classroom size to a maximum of 20 children and children-to-teacher ratios to no more than 10 to 1.
  • Ensure high-quality teaching by requiring that pre-kindergarten teachers have baccalaureate degrees (within six years), with support for teacher educational development.   
  • Provide funding for much-needed programs serving infants and toddlers, ages birth through three. 
  • Provide specific funding that states can use to expand programs to full-day and year-round. 
  • Support and reinforce the importance of other early childhood programs such as Head Start and child care programs by maintaining existing funding levels for those programs. 
  • Ensure continued pre-kindergarten program quality by requiring states to develop and enforce a monitoring plan. 
  • Encourage parental involvement in programs and assist families in getting the supportive services they may need.

 

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