I’m writing in response to the article “Pittsburgh Part of National Conversation on Education” (March 10). It is wonderful to read that Mayor Bill Peduto is among 14 mayors across the nation who were chosen for community conversations focusing on early childhood education, after-school and postsecondary education.
Mayor Peduto is smart to emphasize the importance of early childhood education. The evidence overwhelmingly proves that investing in high-quality pre-K is a smart choice during challenging economic times. At-risk children who experience high-quality pre-K are more likely to become productive citizens with reduced reliance on social services and higher lifetime earnings than if they didn’t have this opportunity. There is an astounding long-term return of $17 for every dollar, through public savings and benefit.
The immediate benefits of quality pre-K are also clear. At the Pittsburgh Public Schools, we see this firsthand. Students who have the advantage of high quality pre-K programs have higher reading and math outcomes in kindergarten and first grade. For this reason, the Pittsburgh Public Schools plans to expand access to early childhood opportunities as part of our “Whole Child Whole Community” plan.
Presently available public funds help fewer than 20 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds to access high-quality pre-K. Far too many children are missing out on this life-changing opportunity. We are encouraged by Mayor Peduto’s work around early childhood education and hope that these efforts help to make quality pre-K available to all.
Early Childhood Education
Pittsburgh Public Schools