Education comes with a hefty price tag, and early childhood education is no exception. Depending on the program, it can cost anywhere from $3K to $10K+ per student per year. Wow! No wonder it’s so hard for every child to gain access to a good program. In 2010, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, fewer than three in ten 4-year-olds were enrolled in a high-quality preschool program in the United States.
Economists and research studies have repeatedly proven that early childhood education is an investment worth making. Money spent on high-quality early education not only benefits children from all social and economic backgrounds, but it benefits taxpayers, local communities, and society as a whole. For every dollar we invest on early education, we can save up to $13 in future costs, which includes returns from reduced: teen pregnancy, school dropout rates, truancy, and incarceration rates. Educated children become better citizens; they earn more, pay more taxes, and commit fewer crimes.
Pennsylvania’s Governor, Tom Wolf, has included a $120 million increase in early childhood education funding in his budget proposal for the 2015-2016 school year. This would allow for an additional 14,000 Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance students. Wolf hopes to increase pre-k funding by $2 billion over the next four years.
And now, in Pennsylvania, state funds can be used to purchase GrapeSEED, which is officially aligned with the Pennsylvania Pre-Kindergarten Learning Standards for Early Childhood (Language and Literacy Development), to be used in any of the following programs:
- PA Pre-K Counts Program
- Keystone Stars Program
- Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program
- Early Intervention Program
High-quality early childhood education not only saves money down the road, but it can significantly improve and, in many ways, save lives. Let’s continue to work together to make it accessible for all of our young children.