From the NYS Assembly ē Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Steven Sanders, Chair, Education Committee
Bush administration hails value of pre-K
Presidential advisor Grover Whitehurst recently visited Albany to reinforce the value of pre-K ó where this vital education program is under attack by Governor Pataki. As director of the federal Institute of Education Sciences, Whitehurstís job is to ensure that the federal government is getting the best results from the roughly $50 billion in education aid that it sends to the states and to encourage using research to guide decision making. So itís no surprise heís a strong proponent of pre-K. After meeting with the Board of Regents, he said:
"The evidence is that for low-income kids, a high-quality preschool program is effective and pays back its costs years down the road."
Whitehurst is not the only Bush advisor to offer solid advice on pre-K. Susan B. Neuman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, recently blasted the governorís funding cuts to the stateís universal pre-kindergarten program, saying:
"Children who attend high-quality pre-K come to school ready to learn. It does not make sense to eliminate pre-K when it is one of the few education initiatives that really work."
Even President George Bushís brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, has voiced his support for pre-K. He said:
"There is simply no question that children who fall behind in an early grade tend to fall even further behind over time. Many children currently arrive in kindergarten with underdeveloped learning skills, and I believe [pre-K] addresses this concern responsibly."
The fact is, study after study finds investing in pre-K helps provide our children with the tools needed to succeed.
The Governorís cuts in
Governor Patakiís proposal to cut more than $200 million statewide from pre-kindergarten programs amounts to much more than a bad choice. In truth, the governorís cuts would demolish pre-K. To save a relatively small amount of money, the governor is eliminating a program that will pay dividends for years to come.
Pre-K ó a worthy investment in our future
Pre-K is a proven early intervention program that improves academic performance, cuts crime and saves money. In fact, according to Chicagoís Child-Parent Centers, children who attend pre-K are 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18. Research also shows that children who attend pre-K programs have higher reading and math scores and are more likely to enjoy long-term academic success.
Children who attend pre-K save educators and taxpayers time and money by reducing the need for costly special education programs and helping prevent students from repeating certain grades. Furthermore, children who attend pre-K are more prepared socially, emotionally, as well as academically for their school experience.
Children depend on us to make the right choices
Introducing children to the values instilled by an early, quality education is a far reaching investment in our future. Currently, the Assemblyís LADDER program is reducing class sizes, funding universal pre-kindergarten, providing after school programs, supporting teacher training, improving the use of technology in the classroom and ensuring proper maintenance of school buildings ó but thereís still more to be done.
The Assembly Majority will work to convince Governor Pataki to make the right choice and follow the advice of experts like Grover Whitehurst and Susan Neuman. Our children deserve nothing short of the best, and the Assembly will continue the fight to ensure pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten are fundamental parts of New Yorkís education system.
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