Casey again introduces legislation to improve kindergarten

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U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is once again asking Congress to increase the availability of high-quality pre-kindergerten, focusing on chlldren from low-income families and children with special needs.

Mr. Casey announced today he is introducing the "Prepare All Kids Act" which is similar to a 2007 proposal. In each Congress since then, he has introduced a pre-K initiative.

In a telephone conference, Mr. Casey said he is committed "for the long haul" to winning more support for preschool education, which he said is important for the nation's competitiveness.

The proposal calls for at least one year of voluntary high quality pre-kindergarten using a research-based curriculum. The children-to-teacher ratio would be no more than 10 children to one teacher.

There is no dollar figure included, but the plan is to provide money to states to expand pre-K programs.

In Pennsylvania, about 17 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds have access to high quality pre-K education, he said.

"You can't really begin a discussion about economic growth or job creation or building the kind of skill levels that we need to compete with countries around the world unless we make the investment we should make in early learning," he said.

education - electionspa - state

Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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