Pre-K for PA Releases Data on Pre-K Access in Southeastern Pennsylvania
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Pre-K for PA Releases Data on Pre-K Access in Southeastern Pennsylvania

March 13, 2014

 

Contact:

Carey Voigt Learnard

(215) 260-5215

 

PHILADELPHIA - There are nearly 70,000 three and four year-old children in southeastern Pennsylvania who can not enroll in high-quality pre-kindergarten, according to new fact county fact sheets released today by the Pre-K for PA Campaign. Despite the known benefits of pre-k, public funds provide access to only about 1 in 6 eligible children in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

 

“Every family in Pennsylvania should have the option of enrolling their child in a high-quality pre-k program,” said Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), one of the founding partners of the Pre-K for PA Campaign. “Investing in these tried and true programs will make sure more of our children are ready for school.”

 

There are 99,717 children ages three and four living in southeastern Pennsylvania. Of those children, 52,320 (52%) live in households that are below 300% of the poverty level - or $70,650 for a family of four, and qualify for publicly subsidized pre-k programs such as Pre-K Counts and Head Start. However, minimal funding provided by the state is not enough to meet the demand. As a result, far too many families cannot afford to enroll their children in high-quality pre-k.

 

“The benefits of high-quality pre-k are well documented,” said Steve Wray, Executive Director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. “Investing in these programs now will have a greater return later as our children grow into successful adults.”

 

Here is how access to high-quality pre-k breaks down in the 5 county region:

 

Bucks County

 

  • 10,286 children ages three and four don’t have access to high-quality pre-k

  • Only 6% of children in the county have access to publicly funded high-quality pre-k

 

Chester County

 

  • 9,607 children ages three and four don’t have access to high-quality pre-k

  • Only 5% of children in the county have access to publicly funded high-quality pre-k

 

Delaware County

 

  • 9,806 children ages three and four don’t have access to high-quality pre-k

  • Only 11% of children in the county have access to publicly funded high-quality pre-k

 

Montgomery County

 

  • 12,731 children ages three and four don’t have access to high-quality pre-k

  • Only 5% of children in the county have access to publicly funded high-quality pre-k

 

Philadelphia County

 

  • 25,861 children ages three and four don’t have access to high-quality pre-k

  • Only 30% of children in the county have access to publicly funded high-quality pre-k

 

Joan Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, added: “Nearly a quarter of a million children statewide are missing out on the once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity high-quality pre-k provides. The sooner this important learning opportunity is made available to more Pennsylvania children, the sooner we can see the increased benefits to our children, our communities and the commonwealth."

 

Pre-K for PA launched in January 2014 to ensure all 3- and 4-year-olds in Pennsylvania can begin school ready to succeed. The campaign has quickly signed up 1,400 individual supporters and 192 supporting organizations, and it is led by 10 leading statewide nonprofits, including: Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, Pennsylvania Head Start Association, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

 

County fact sheets can be downloaded at: http://www.prekforpa.org/county-facts-sheets/. To learn more about the Pre-K for PA Campaign and see additional research on the benefits of high-quality pre-k, visit www.prekforpa.org.