Pre-K and Head Start Get $25 million Investment in PA State Budget Helping Thousands of Kids!

The Pennsylvania state budget has come to a close and early childhood education received a great investment to send thousands of PA $25M_Increase_Budget- Resizekids to Pre-K and Head Start!

The 2018-19 spending plan included the following expanded investments into early learning:

  • Increases Pre-K Counts investment by $20 million
  • Increases investments in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program by $5 million
  • Increases investment in Child Care Services by $6.8 million
  • New investment in home visiting programs of $6.735 million

The Pre-K for PA Campaign, of which UWP is a principal partner, issued the following statement in regards to the investments:

“Governor Wolf, along with Republican and Democrat legislators made a wise investment in Pennsylvania’s early education system and clearly prioritized our state’s youngest learners in this budget. While the 2018-19 Pennsylvania state budget grew by just 1.7%, leaders in Harrisburg grew high quality pre-k funding by 11%, high quality child care services grew by 4%, and home visiting grew by an impressive and much needed 33%.  This year’s budget is testament to the fact that Governor Wolf, along with Republican and Democrat legislators, understand their constituents’ priorities.

“Still, more than 106,000 eligible children do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k due to limited state funding. This budget increase will allow access to thousands of 3- and 4-year-old students in the upcoming school year. It is a step in the right direction, but we still have much work to be done as Pennsylvania lags far behind neighboring states.

“Today, Pennsylvania ranks 18th of the 30 states investing in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k. New Jersey is spending five times more per capita than PA and West Virginia is leaps ahead of us – it has had universal access for pre-k aged kids since 2012. We have to ramp up our investment in the coming years because, as we know, the tens of thousands of kids missing out won’t get a do-over.”

While there is more work to be done, this increased investment will positively impact the lives of many Pennsylvania children and shows the continuing commitment by the Commonwealth to invest in our future generations. This is a win for early learning and a win for PA kids!

United Way of Pennsylvania would like to thank the following legislators for their vote to support Pre-K kids in the 2018-19 budget:

Rep. Bryan Barbin, Rep. Stephen Barrar, Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, Rep. Aaron Bernstine, Rep. Ryan Bizzaro,  Rep. Kevin Boyle, Rep. Matt Bradford, Rep. Tim Briggs, Rep. Karen Bobck, Rep. Rosemary Brown, Rep. Vanessa Brown, Rep. Donna Bullock, Rep. Frank Burns, Rep. Tom Caltagirone, Rep. Mike Carroll, Rep. Martin Causer, Rep. Morgan Cephas, Rep. Alexander Charlton, Rep. Jim Christiana, Rep. Bud Cook, Rep. Becky Corbin, Rep. Michael Corr, Rep. Carolyn Comitta, Rep. Scott Conklin, Rep. Paul Costa, Rep. Dom Costa, Rep. Jim Cox, Rep. Angel Cruz,  Rep. Lynda Culver, Rep. Bryan Cutler, Rep. Mary Jo Daley, Rep. Margo Davidson, Rep. Austin Davis, Rep. Tina Davis, Rep. Jason Dawkins, Rep. Gary Day, Rep. Madeleine Dean, Rep. Daniel Deasy, Rep. Pamela DeLissio, Rep. Sheryl Delozier, Rep. Anthony Deluca, Rep. Frank Dermody, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, Rep. Russ Diamond, Rep. Maria Donatucci, Rep. Matthew Dowling, Rep. Mike Driscoll, Rep. George Dunbar, Rep. Brian Ellis, Rep. Joe Emrick, Rep. Hal English, Rep. Eli Evankovich, Rep. Garth Everett, Rep. Flo Fabrizio, Rep. Frank Farry, Rep. Mindy Fee, Rep. Robert Freeman, Rep. Jonathan Fritz, Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, Rep. Marty Flynn, Rep. Dan Frankel, Rep. Ed Gainey, Rep. John Galloway, Rep. Mark Gillen, Rep. Keith Gillespie, Rep. Robert Godshall, Rep. Neal Goodman, Rep. Keith Greiner,  Rep. Seth Grove, Rep. Kevin Haggerty, Rep. Marcia Hahn,  Rep. Mike Hanna, Rep. Patrick Harkins, Rep. Kate Harper, Rep. Jordan Harris, Rep. Doyle Heffley, Rep. Susan Helm, Rep. Tim Hennessey, Rep. David Hickernell,  Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, Rep. Rich Irvin, Rep. Lee James, Rep. Barry Jozwiak, Rep. Warren Kampf, Rep. Aaron Kaufer, Rep. Rob Kauffman, Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, Rep. Dawn Keefer, Rep. Fred Keller, Rep. Mark Keller, Rep. William Keller, Rep. Patty Kim, Rep. Stephen Kinsey, Rep. Brian Krikland, Rep. Kate Klunk, Rep. Jerry Knowles, Rep. Bill Kortz, Rep. Leanne Kreuger-Braneky, Rep. Anita Kulik, Rep. John Lawrence, Rep. Harry Lewis, Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, Rep. Maureen Madden, Rep. John Maher, Rep. Zachary Mako, Rep. David Maloney, Rep. Joe Markosek, Rep. Jim Marshall, Rep. Ron Marscio, Rep. Kurt Masser, Rep. Robert Matzie, Rep. Steve McCarter, Rep. Joanna McClinton, Rep. Jeanne McNeill, Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, Rep. Steven Mentzer, Rep. Carl Metzgar, Rep. David Millard, Rep. Brett Miller, Rep. Dan Miller, Rep. Dan Moul, Rep. Gerald Mullery, Rep. Tom Murt, Rep. Mark Mustio, Rep. Ed Neilson, Rep. Eric Nelson, Rep. Ted Nesbit, Rep., Michale O’Brien, Rep. Tim O’Neal, Rep. Bernie O’Neill, Rep. Donna Oberlander,  Rep. Jason Ortitay, Rep. Clint Owlett, Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Rep. Michale Peifer, Rep. Joseph Petrarca, Rep. Tina Pickett, Rep. Jeff Pyle, Rep. Thomas Quigley, Rep. Chris Quinn, Rep. Marguerite Quinn, Rep. Chris Rabb, Rep. Jack Rader, Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, Rep. Harry Readshaw, Rep. Dave Reed, Rep. Mike Reese, Rep. Eric Roe,  Rep. James Roebuck, Rep. Greg Rothman, Rep. Mark Rozzi,Rep. Rick Saccone,  Rep. Chris Sainato,  Rep. Steve Samuelson, Rep. Thomas Sankey, Rep. James Santora, Rep. Stan Saylor, Rep. Mike Scholossberg, Rep. Peter Schweyer, Rep. Justin Simmons, Rep. Brian Sims, Rep. Pam Snyder, Rep. Jared Solomon, Rep. Curt Sonney, Rep. Craig Staats, Rep. Todd Stepehns, Rep. Mike Sturla, Rep. Helen Tai, Rep. John Taylor, Rep. Curtis Thomas, Rep. Mike Tobash, Rep. Marcy Toepel, Rep. Tarah Toohil, Rep. Jesse Topper, Rep. Mike Turzai, Rep. Greg Vitali, Rep. Emilio Vazquez, Rep. Justin Walsh, Rep. Judy Ward, Rep. Ryan Warner, Rep. Perry Warren, Rep. Katharine Watson, Rep. Parke Wentling, Rep. Jake Wheatley,  Rep. Jeff Wheeland, Rep. Martina White, Rep. Rosita Youngblood, Rep. David Zimmerman

Sen. Rich Alloway, Sen. Dave Argall, Sen. Ryan Aument, Sen. Lisa Baker, Sen. Camera Bartolotta, Sen. John Blake, Sen. Lisa Boscola, Sen. Jim Brewster, Sen. Michele Brooks, Sen. Pat Browne, Sen. Jake Corman, Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. John DiSanto, Sen. Andrew Dinniman, Sen. Larry Farnese, Sen. Mike Folmer, Sen. Wayne Fontana, Sen. John Gordner, Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, Sen. Arthur Haywood, Sen. Vincent Hughes, Sen. Thomas Killion, Sen. Wayne Langerholc, Sen. Daniel Laughlin, Sen. Daylin Leach, Sen. Scott Martin, Sen. Thomas McGarrigle, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, Sen. Bob Mensch, Sen. John Rafferty, Sen. Mike Regan, Sen. Gary Reschenthaler, Sen. John Sabatina, Sen. Joseph Scarnati, Sen. Mario Scavello, Sen. Judy Schwank, Sen. Pat Stefano, Sen. Sharif Street, Sen. Christine Tartaglione, Sen. Robert Tomlinson, Sen. Elder Vogel, Sen. Randy Vulakovich, Sen. Kim Ward, Sen. Don White, Sen. Anthony Williams, Sen. Gene Yaw, and Sen. John Yudichak.

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Voters in Favor of More Funding for Pre-K

In a new poll, commissioned by the Pre-K for PA campaign and conducted by Harrisburg-based Harper Polling, there is a strong consensus, 94% in fact, that say early childhood education is important for Pennsylvania.  Further, 75% of likely voters support increased state funding to expand access to high-quality, publicly-funded pre-k.  This is an increase in supportive voters compared to a 2013 poll where that number was only 63%.pre-school-kids-e1528814004848
Additionally, nearly two-thirds of likely Pennsylvania voters said they would support a tax increase to expand pre-k access.  64% of Pennsylvanians said they would pay an extra $50 in taxes to fund pre-k.  Again, this number has grown since the 2013 poll when only 56 percent of voters said they were will to pay more in taxes to fund pre-k.
“Pennsylvanians value pre-k education for its proven benefits to each child fortunate enough to attend a high-quality pre-k, and they’re willing to dig a little deeper into their own pockets to support expanded access for kids across the commonwealth,”said Joan Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a founding partner of Pre-K for PA.  “Pennsylvania prospers when children succeed and pre-k is a key element in each child’s success.”
According to the poll, every single voting demographic in the state favors expanded access to pre-k by at least a two-to-one margin. Seniors favor it by more than a three-to-one margin.  Conservatives are for expanded access at a rate of two-to-one.
The additional $40 million in the 2018-19 budget proposal, if fully funded, will expand access to publicly funded pre-k to more than 4,400 new students. Currently more than 106,000 eligible children do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k due to limited state funding.
Since the inception of the Pre-K for PA Campaign, the commonwealth’s investment in publicly funded pre-k has increased by $100 million, but lags far behind many neighboring states. Today, Pennsylvania ranks 18th of the 30 states investing in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k.
You can view the full poll results here.
To learn more about the Pre-K for Pa campaign and become a supporter, please visit their website.

How can Pre-K Help?

Pre-K and Crime

“Pay for high-quality early education programs now, or pay far more later for the costs of crime and lack of educational success”.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids which discusses many ways Pre-K programs can help reduce crime and keep at-risk children in school. The report, entitled, “Pre-K Key to Cutting Pennsylvania Prison Costs and Boosting School Success”, explains statistical findings, from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, which connect lack of education with an increased chance for incarceration.  For example, 26.3% of current state prison inmates have less than a 12th grade education. High school dropouts are more likely to end up in prison.  Many prisoners find it difficult to find employment after incarceration, and education is one of the reasons why.

The report also outlines several different Pre-K programs in the nation and how they have positively impacted children and society as a whole. For example, a study in Chicago focusing on the Chicago Child-Parent Centers (CPC) showed that “children not served by the Chicago CPC program were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18”.

How can Pre-K help?      

Publicly funded pre-k programs focus on providing at-risk kids with high-quality early learning programs. These programs can provide better schooling outcomes because kids will be ready for school, won’t be held back, and will have a lower chance of dropping out before completing high school.  Because individuals who do not graduate high school are more likely to commit crimes, this means reduced prison costs.  According to the Department of Corrections, Pennsylvania currently spends $3.2 billion each year on state and local corrections.

Pre-K programs ensure that children have the opportunity for quality early education.  The report discusses how early experiences determine how a young brain is wired.  This wiring becomes the building blocks through which all later learning is incorporated.  Early education prepares children to succeed in school.

Long-term benefits

The goal of this report is to show that Pennsylvania has a simple choice.  Pennsylvanians could see almost $150 million in societal benefits over their lifetime with Governor Wolf’s proposed $40 million funding increase for Pre-K Counts and Head Start State Supplemental Assistance programs in 2018-2019.  This funding would benefit an estimated 4,400 additional low-income Pennsylvania children.  Pre-K works and the benefits show that these programs more than pay for themselves!  To read the full report click here.

United Ways encourage all Pennsylvanians who understand that high quality Pre-K and Head Start are beneficial for our kids and our economy to do two things: 1) become supporters of the Pre-K for PA campaign here and contact your state legislators (find yours here) to urge them to support $40 million in the 2018 -2019 state budget so that another 4400 of PA’s at-risk kids will have access to high quality early childhood education next year.

“Why Not PA?”

Think back to your first job. Did you sit there on your first day not knowing what to do? Or did you have a head start due to your background knowledge. If you had to do it all over again, would you have brushed up a little before jumping straight in? How quickly were you able to advance?

Looking back, the opportunity to invest in your future feels like a no-brainer. You would take it. Now, apply that same type of logic to the children of the commonwealth. High-quality pre-k programs are the crash course beginnings that put children ahead, ultimately putting Pennsylvania ahead. Future employers would see cost cuts as well as better workers. Children in pre-k develop a host of skills including character and social development, conflict resolution, and even negotiation–all qualities that employers seek in future hires.

How does this benefit the entire state of Pennsylvania? The push for pre-k in Pennsylvania crafts students ready for kindergarten and sets the stage for success. Successful students turn into productive members of society. Pre-k investments save taxpayer dollars by reducing the need for special education and remedial instruction. At-risk children who attend high-quality pre-k are less likely to commit a crime later in life, cutting taxpayer costs associated with public safety and prosecution. Long-term, every dollar invested in high-quality pre-k amounts to money back in the commonwealth’s pocket.

You would think these benefits would make high quality pre-k an easy investment, but Pennsylvania ranks 18th out of 30 states that make public investments in high-quality pre-k.  Other states are outpacing Pennsylvania, such as our neighboring states New York ($1,736), New Jersey ($3,277), Maryland ($1,005) and West Virginia ($2,248), who are investing much more per capita than the commonwealth ($792).  In order, to grow Pennsylvania’s investment into high-quality pre-k, state policymakers need to make the smart investment to serve at-risk children.  This would mean investing $85 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year to double the expansion of the last three year, and grow the investment with an additional $225 million by the 2020-21 fiscal year.

With a 1:4 return rate on taxpayer dollars spent, why not PA?

To learn more about the benefits of high-quality pre-k and why PA should make the investment, read the Why Not PA report.

UWP Honored to Join as Principal Partner with Pre-K for PA Campaign

UWP is pleased to announce our partnership with the Pre-K for PA campaign! This is the first year we have joined the campaign as a principal partner, but have long been supporters of their efforts.  We are honored to advocate for early childhood education and bring more awareness to the benefits of high-quality pre-k in the educational development of Pennsylvania’s children.

The campaign’s vision is to ensure all children are able to enter school ready to succeed by making high-quality pre-k accessible to every 3- and 4- year old in Pennsylvania.  The goal is that by 2022, every at-risk child will have access to a high-quality pre-k program and middle-income families will more easily afford these services for their children.  It will take a significant investment from the state to ensure this goal can be reached and UWP, along with the Pre-K for PA campaign’s other partners, are certain this can be achieved through education and a commitment from our state lawmakers.

In the months to come, UWP will be sharing various information on the benefits high-quality pre-k provide Pennsylvania’s children, so please continue to follow our social media channels, as well as our other communications, such as UWP’s Monthly E-Letter (you can sign-up here) for ways to engage in this essential campaign.  If you would like to join the Pre-K for PA campaign, you can do so here.

Let’s LIVE UNITED to fight for the education of every child in every community throughout this commonwealth!

Principals Throughout PA Agree Pre-K Makes a Difference

In a newly released report, the Pennsylvania Principals Association, in partnership with the Pre-K for PA Campaign, conducted a statewide survey to gauge how principals in elementary schools across Pennsylvania feel about high-quality pre-k and its importance in building the necessary foundation for children entering kindergarten with the tools to succeed.

With overwhelming results, more than 97% of elementary school principals agree high-quality pre-k is vital for the success of kindergarten students as they move throughout grades.  The responses from the statewide survey were from a wide-mix of school districts, including rural, urban, and suburban.

Research has proven the impacts access to high-quality pre-k has on our children.  Some of the impacts principals reported noticing from those students who participate in a high-quality pre-k program include age appropriate behavior, reading readiness, a demonstration of early numeracy concepts, a reduced need for remediation, and a reduction in IEP services.  Additional research has shown access to pre-k is especially beneficial for low-income students.

United Way of Pennsylvania is proud to partner with the Pre-K for PA campaign to bring awareness to the need of high-quality pre-k programs throughout the Commonwealth.  With continued investments in this work, there is no doubt our students will improve their academic success.  However, we are faced with a challenge of providing these programs to those in need.

Approximately 64 percent, or 2 in 3, eligible preschoolers do not have the opportunity to attend a publicly funded, high -quality pre-k program.  Nearly 420 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts enroll a kindergarten class where 40 percent or more children who are eligible for high-quality pre-k do not have the opportunity.  According to the report, there are only 32 commonwealth school districts where 80 percent or more kindergarten children who are eligible for publicly funded, high-quality pre-k had the opportunity to attend.

UWP and the Pre-K for PA campaign will continue to fight for our children to have the access they need to enter kindergarten ready to learn.  With continued increased investments into pre-k and head start programs we can begin to close the gap between those who are struggling to get the jump start they need to be successful students.  We encourage you to read the report and stay informed on efforts to give every Pennsylvania child the opportunity to attend a high-quality pre-k program.  You can sign-up for the Pre-K for PA campaign here.

 

Insider Experience- Melissa Anese UWP Summer Intern!

Reflecting back on my entire internship, I feel like it’s been far more than a summer. Here at United Way of Pennsylvania, I hit the ground running. I remember in my first week going to meetings about community schools and sitting in on UWW webinars. I even made my first guest appearance in the Capitol during week one. I was expose to the budget season and what it takes to advocate on behalf of a cause. Informing legislators about 2-1-1 seemed like a no-brainer until you compile that alongside politics.

Shadowing Maggie in the Capitol really gave me the insider’s view into how successful advocates work. You have to know the lay of the land, all the legislators by face, and their staff. At first, it all was quite overwhelming, but as you get familiar with the whole process, it actually makes you feel like you somewhat know what’s up.

I feel like all of my accomplishments have come within the last month or so. In June, I laid out the conference program, which was really just the practice round for everything else I was going to do. Between legislator list updates and other tedious work, I became ready to devise my own projects. During the internship, I produced three main works which I can proudly call my own:

Advocacy Toolkit—The advocacy toolkit serves as a resource for Local United Way members to aid them in advocacy efforts. Establishing a connection with your local representative up at the state level creates a very smooth connection in times where you need legislative support. This toolkit was designed with tips and tricks in mind alongside what United Way’s expectations for LUWs are and what United Way of Pennsylvania has to offer for its members.

United Way of Pennsylvania Membership Directory for Legislators—This has probably been my favorite project so far. The Membership Directory is for legislators so they can see what their United Way is up to and what types of efforts and programs are being made around the Commonwealth. Each UWP member has their own page explaining their vision, mission, key focuses, programs they support, and what kind of work they are up to. It’s another legislative tool that manifests itself as almost a quick reference guide to PA United Ways. It also features advertisements from local community partners of member United Ways so legislators can see some of the real world impact United Way has had.

UWW Marketing Refresher Webinar—This project demanded a lot of digging from me and brought out my creative mind. Alongside UWW’s 2017 credo update came new marketing strategies and materials. I decided to host a webinar refreshing members on what exactly those changes are, how to readapt to the new messaging, and resources that are out there for them to utilize.

Though these projects feel like a huge part of my internship, they came along swimmingly in the grand scheme of my daily work. There is a lot to say when it comes to non-profit advocacy, especially when you’re heavily into public policy work. My internship here at United Way of Pennsylvania has taught me a lot about the real life way of advocacy and getting things accomplished. The internship has also taught me a lot about my design skills. Mostly, this internship has aided me in professional growth, experience, and has only furthered my pursuit of advocacy work. Thank you, Kristen, Maggie, Lois, and all of those LUW members I met along the way who showed me how cool you cats really are—the faces of non-profit work, the hand-raisers, the game-changers, LIVE UNITED.