March 2003


From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Steven Sanders, Chair, Education Committee
What the experts are saying...

"The question facing New Yorkers is: would we rather invest now to help kids be their best, or to spend a fortune later to clean up the mess?"

— Sanford Newman, President, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

"By investing in quality pre-kindergarten programs, we can significantly reduce crime and delinquency rates."

— James Campbell, Albany County Sheriff

"Prevention and early intervention programs are our best bet to effectively cut crime and save money. However, if the current proposals to eliminate New York’s pre-kindergarten and Extended Day program and to cut $5 million in funding for the After School Advantage program pass, New York will surely face an even bleaker future."

— Richard Carey, First Vice President, New York State Association of Chiefs of Police

"There is no more effective or cost-efficient way of preparing children for success in school than investing in quality pre-kindergarten and early-grade instruction. Principals and teachers across the system tell me they can immediately tell which children have been through a universal pre-K program and that they are far more prepared for formal instruction in the early grades."

— Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Schools

"The universal pre-kindergarten program, in large part, has provided early education to children who would otherwise not have a preschool experience. In addition to providing school preparation for the children, the program also serves their parents, offering them support in being their child’s first teacher and aiding them in becoming strong advocates for the children and their education."

— Linda Coleman Nichols, Director of Early Childhood Education in Utica Schools

"Children who have had pre-kindergarten education require less remediation, and are less likely to need special services. They are more prepared socially, emotionally, and academically for their school experience. They show a fascination with reading and language, and have been sustaining their lead in the early grades. Cuts in pre-K funding will leave many children behind with little hope of ever catching up."

— Jane Domingue, Director of Thea Bowman House, which provides pre-K classes

Pataki’s early education cuts will hurt kids in the classroom and beyond

Pre-K works, but the governor’s wrong choices will lead to greater costs

Governor Pataki’s budget cuts ignore overwhelming evidence that educating children at an early age pays enormous dividends down the road. The governor’s budget would lock 60,000 children out of pre-K – a wrong choice that will surely come back to haunt us in the very near future.

Pataki’s cuts shift the costs of delinquency and crime on to communities

Research shows that children who attend pre-K programs have higher reading and math scores and are more likely to enjoy long-term academic success. The benefits of early education extend far beyond the classroom. A recent study by Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers found that kids who attend pre-K are 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18.

Cutting this vital program will put many of our children on a wrong path and shift the burden to law enforcement, who will be left to deal with the consequences of the governor’s poor choice.

Educators and taxpayers would share the burden of ill-prepared students. A recent report by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University found pre-K could save Florida school districts up to $3 billion by reducing the need for costly special education programs and helping students avoid repeating certain grades.

Pre-K is making a real difference for our children, and now is not the time to eliminate this effective program. Now is the time to strengthen the foundation upon which strong communities are built by ensuring that every child in New York can reap the tremendous benefits of a quality pre-K program.

Pulling away the ladder to a quality education

As it stands, 130,000 of New York’s 4-year olds are going without pre-K, and now the governor wants to make this deficiency worse. That is a wrong choice – one of many in the governor’s record $1.4 billion cut to education – that would leave our children’s academic performance trailing behind the rest of the nation. The Education Commission of the States has found that of the 43 states that offer pre-kindergarten programs, all have seen dramatic improvements in academic achievement. The governor’s choices will hold our children back from a head start on successful academic careers and becoming safe, productive members of the community.

Our children are our future, and we must not allow their education to be compromised by the governor’s wrong budget choices

The Assembly stands firm in our commitment to our children, their education, and their future. The Assembly’s LADDER program is reducing class sizes, funding universal pre-kindergarten, supporting teacher training, improving the use of technology in the classroom and ensuring proper maintenance of school buildings.

As we continue to fight for the proper investment in education, we’ll also fight to amend the state constitution to make pre-kindergarten and kindergarten a permanent part of New York’s education system, guaranteeing all students a strong start on academic achievement and success.

New York State Assembly
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