High-quality, affordable preschool that’s available to all families, especially those living in poverty.
In 13 states in the west, over half of children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. That means, in a family of four, an income of about $40,000 a year or less. For many of these families, it’s way less.
Many students living in poverty are struggling, and come to school less prepared than their higher-income peers. Preschool, as any parent knows, is expensive. Quality preschool, those with small class sizes, highly-trained and appropriately-paid teachers, and rich materials that facilitate learning, is even more expensive, and often unavailable. And for families with two stressed, busy working parents who don’t have the resources or time to home-school, preschool becomes even more important.
One new study summarizes all the benefits of preschool, from providing an additional half to full year’s worth of learning for young children to increased engagement in learning. For each dollar invest in early education, three to seven dollars are saved on down the road, in everything from special education costs to criminal justice expenses. Yes, preschool has been shown to keep grown-ups out of jail.
If every child came to kindergarten prepared and ready to learn, some have said the achievement gap would be erased.
Preschool. It’s more than ABCs and fun with friends. It builds social skills, increases the odds for high school graduation, and means each child enters kindergarten ready for the work, and fun, of learning. Expanding affordable preschool, and helping boost quality, means all children can have the enrichment and support they need.