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Report Shows Dearth of Publicly Funded Pre-K in PA

A report on the accessibility of early education programs for young children shows the commonwealth has some work to do.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, an education advocacy group, has released its 2013 study on school “readiness” in the commonwealth.

It finds less than 16 percent of three- and four-year-olds have access to publicly-funded pre-kindergarten.

The remaining roughly 84 percent of children in the commonwealth may have access to private early education.

But spokesman Mike Race said that doesn’t dismiss the need for more widely available public pre-K.

"Research shows the benefits of publicly-funded pre-K, the research that shows that high-quality pre-K can save money in the long-run can save money in the long-term by reducing education costs, and helping better prepare kids for both school and life," he said.

Race said his group is optimistic such programs will be more accessible in the years to come.

State funding for early education increased in the current fiscal year, after being cut or stagnant over the past few years.

Race also points to an effort by a bipartisan group of members of Congress to bolster federal investment in early education.

WESA will be surveying Pennsylvania candidates for federal and state office for the 2022 general election — tell us which issues are most important to you.