Pre-K Now To Lead National Movement
Early childhood education advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. today to celebrate the launch of Pre-K Now, a new, proactive advocacy and public education organization.
“We are grateful for the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts and other funders, and the entire early learning community as we continue the fight to bring high quality pre-k to all of America's children,” said Libby Doggett, director of Pre-K Now. “We have a tremendous opportunity in 2005 and beyond to educate communities and policy makers on the enormous benefits of high quality pre-kindergarten.”
Pre-K Now will be dedicated to:
- Supporting state-based campaigns for high-quality pre-k for all three and four year olds;
- Building coalitions across a broad spectrum of leaders and advocates to fight for quality pre-k implementation;
- Positively impacting state and federal legislation; and
- Raising public awareness about the need for pre-kindergarten for all children.
"Research shows that children who have access to high quality pre-k do better in school and in life. Now we know that investing in pre-k also contributes to a healthy economy," said Sue Urahn, director of the education program at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "We are delighted to support Pre-K Now, one of the cornerstones of the Trusts' Quality Pre-K For All initiative, as it works with state advocates to implement programs for children and communities across the country."
Befitting Pre-K Now's and Pew's goals of focusing public attention on high quality early learning environments and research-based advocacy, the launch event was hosted at Peabody Pre-Kindergarten, a Washington, D.C. Public School. Guests were treated to a singing performance by a class of Peabody Pre-Kindergartners and then toured classes.
Support for pre-kindergarten programs nationwide is extensive and on the rise. In fact, a 2004 report released by Pre-K Now staff members showed that state legislatures are providing more money in FY'05 than ever before to offer children access to high-quality pre-kindergarten. However, there are still far too many children without access to quality early learning programs. Surprisingly, one third of all states either provide no state funds for pre-kindergarten in FY'05 or cut funds for existing programs.
Nevertheless, national polling conducted over the last three years by Peter D. Hart Research continues to show strong bipartisan support for pre-kindergarten programs among a diverse audience of people.
“Increasing access to high quality pre-kindergarten is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” Doggett said. “It's a children's issue that's been neglected for too long.”
Pre-K Now collaborates with state advocates and policymakers to lead a movement for high quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three and four year olds. The following funders have contributed to making this important work possible: The Pew Charitable Trusts, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Schumann Fund of New Jersey, the Foundation for Child Development, the Kellogg Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and the McCormick Tribune Foundation.
The Pew Charitable Trusts serve the public interest by providing information, policy solutions and support for civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts make investments to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues. With approximately $4.1 billion in dedicated assets, in 2003 the Trusts committed more than $143 million to 151 nonprofit organizations.