Coalition pushes state for more pre-school funding

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In a state where many children do not have access to quality pre-kindergarten programs, a statewide campaign is aimed at changing that.

The Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children today announced the campaign called PreK for PA at a news conference at the Jewish Community Center, which offers a preschool program in Squirrel Hill. Announcements also were made by partners throughout the state.

The campaign plans to engage business and civic leaders, educators and parents to “create the public will” for the state to provide resources “so that every parent can enroll their child in affordable, high-quality preK,” according to the news release.

“The public funds available for preK in Pennsylvania help fewer than 20 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds access high-quality programs,” said Michelle Figlar, executive director of PAEYC, in a news release. “As a result, too many families cannot find or access high quality preK which is essential to their children’s success.”

The news release stated that children who participate in PA PreK Counts programs and Head Start Supplemental Assistance programs have seen their academic and social skills increase dramatically.

In the news releasee, Curtiss Porter, chief education and neighborhood revitalization officer appointed by new Mayor Bill Peduto, said, “Every parent in Pennsylvania, regardless of socioeconomic background, should be able to have their children in preK programs that prepare them for kindergarten and set them up for success in life.”

PreK for PA is a statewide organization. In Western Pennsylvania, it is led by the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. Other partners include Pennsylvania Head Start Association, Pennsylvania Partnership for Children, Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, and Mission: Readiness.

The website for the campaign is

Education writer Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955.

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