Pre-K Now Leadership Report Shows More Governors than Ever Propose

  • April 21, 2005

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Pre-K Now today released "Leadership Matters: Governors' Pre-K Proposals Fiscal Year 2006," which praises 20 governors who proposed increases to their states' pre-kindergarten programs. The report contrasts these leaders with other governors who are trailing national trends toward providing high-quality, voluntary pre-k.

“We focus on governors because their leadership is critical to the success of pre-k across the country,” said Libby Doggett, executive director of Pre-K Now. “Our report shows that more work remains to be done to increase funding for high quality pre-k. But more and more governors understand the importance of providing children an early start in education and they are backing up their rhetoric with funding.”

Additionally, the report found that:

  • The trend toward increased funding for pre-k enjoys the support of Democratic and Republican governors alike;
  • Governors in Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico and Tennessee proposed increased investments in pre-k of 57% to 467%;
  • Despite overwhelming budget deficits; governors in Connecticut, Illinois and Washington found a way to propose increases to pre-k totaling more than $44 million;
  • Southern states lead regionally when it comes to offering pre-k. Mississippi remains the only state in that region without a pre-k program;
  • Governors in the Southwest and Midwest, like Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack are recognizing pre-k as a vital component of education reform.

"I am heartened by the results highlighted in this report," said Sue Urahn, director of state policy and the Education program at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "It is clear that more and more state leaders from both sides of the political aisle understand that high quality pre-k is a sound investment in the economic and social health of their communities. In the year to come, I am confident that other states will follow their example."

In 2004 11 governors proposed increases to their state's pre-k program for FY05. That number has risen to 20 governors in 2005.

“Despite tight budgets, big deficits and program cuts more governors than a year ago are keeping their commitments to pre-k children and their families,” Doggett said. “The citizens in these states can be proud as more of their children enter K-12 better prepared to succeed.”

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. We gratefully acknowledge past and present funders: The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Lucile and David 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 serves the public interest by providing information, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts will invest $177 million in fiscal year 2005 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues.

Pre-K Now Leadership Report Shows More Governors than Ever Propose