Letter to the editor: Importance of early education
In Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent budget proposal, education was at the forefront. As the owner of a STAR 4 childcare program, I am happy to see a growing understanding of the importance of funding of high-quality early education for all children. Specifically, the governor’s proposed investment of $50 million for high-quality pre-K is a big win for thousands of Pennsylvania’s youngest children.
Our program was awarded 20 pre-K slots for families in need. Those funds were only thanks to increases in last year’s state budget. We continue to have children who are eligible for this program but sit on waiting lists due to lack of funding.
Looking at next year’s budget, there are still over 600 income-eligible children in our local schools who are missing out on the opportunity to attend high-quality pre-K. Across Westmoreland County, 2,400 children are missing out, and statewide, 98,000. We must keep pushing to reach all at-risk children, and I hope in this budget cycle, our legislators push to expand access.
I am excited that the conversation around pre-K investment has elevated the focus on early learning, and I hope our local legislators, including Rep. George Dunbar and Sen. Kim Ward, continue to champion this funding.
The writer is director and owner of JB’s Bright Beginnings.