An investment in high-quality pre-k makes sense

By February 24, 2014Blog, pa-12-116

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly must continue investing in high-quality early education options, particularly in low-performing school districts.

Earlier this month, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a plan to add 4,000 available pre-kindergarten seats in Connecticut over the next four years, focusing on areas with a high concentration of low-income families.

Connecticut families need access to high-quality pre-kindergarten, and the governor’s proposal is a major step in the right direction. Studies have shown a direct connection between high-quality early education and success in college and the workplace.

Relevant data points on the relationship between high-quality early childhood education and success in college and careers include:

  • Starting early matters: A student is four times more likely to not graduate high school on time if they are not reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

  • It matters more in high-needs communities: Children from high-needs areas who cannot read at grade level by the end of third grade are significantly more likely to not graduate high school on time

  • Pre-k access and college readiness are linked: Children who participate in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs are more likely to attend college and excel in careers

  • Investing in pre-k saves money: An investment in high-quality pre-kindergarten education can save money down the line. Estimates suggest that three to seven dollars can be saved for every dollar spent on early education.

The research is clear. Access to a high-quality early childhood education is key to success later in  life, and success should not be restricted to only those students whose families can afford it. Every child deserves a chance to succeed in college, or to apply with confidence for the jobs of tomorrow. The good news for Connecticut is that an investment in high-quality pre-kindergarten can actually save the state money, simultaneously working to make this state attractive for businesses and families.