Office of Mayor William Peduto
Statement by Mayor William Peduto on Early Childhood Action Day

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 12, 2015) Mayor William Peduto released the following statement today on Early Childhood Action Day, in which pre-K and childcare advocates, providers and stakeholders are traveling to the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to invest more in high-quality pre-Kindergarten education.

“I want to join my friends at Early Learning PA, Pre-K for PA, and founding organizations such as the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), in supporting today’s call for stronger funding for pre-K in Pennsylvania. The futures of our children and our communities depend on it.

Access to high quality pre-K significantly improves childhood literacy, math and social skills and provides essential building blocks for opportunities later in life. It not only strengthens our kids -- it strengthens our schools and our communities too.

Unfortunately when it comes to offering high-quality pre-K, Pennsylvania still isn’t making progress. A new report out this week from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) details where we stand among states offering publicly funded pre-K programs:

  • Pennsylvania has dropped to 15th in the nation (down from 14th last year) in pre-K access for 3-year-olds. Five years ago, we ranked 11th nationally.

  • Pennsylvania remains stuck at 30th in the nation in pre-K access for 4-year-olds – the same ranking we held last year. Five years ago, we ranked 24th nationally.

Thankfully, Governor Wolf has proposed increasing state funding for high-quality pre-K by $120 million in the coming fiscal year. The Governor's budget increases Pennsylvania's pre-K counts by $100 million, nearly doubling the Commonwealth’s current investment, and adds $20 million in increased funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.

This increased investment would mean approximately 14,000 more Pennsylvania 3 and 4 year olds would benefit from this once in a lifetime learning opportunity. This investment would increase access to publicly funded, high-quality pre-K from about 1 in 6 of our 3 and 4 year olds to about 1 in 4.

There is so much more that our state government, backed by Pennsylvania’s network of childhood and education advocates, can do together. I urge Pittsburgh residents to join others from all over the state to demand in one voice that we provide more high-quality pre-K opportunities to our children, and help turn them into the high-functioning citizens of tomorrow.”

Those interested in following Early Childhood Action Day can watch the Twitter feeds of PAEYC (@PittsburghAEYC) or Early Learning PA (@ELPATweets), and the hastags #PGHearlyed and #IamPreK.

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