03/10/2009 - Hello. My name is Danielle Gonzales and I am the Project Manager of Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States. I lead the Pew initiative to advance state policy to secure high quality, voluntary pre-k for all three and four year olds.
On behalf of Pew, I am here today to ask for your firm support of the NLGA resolution on pre-kindergarten education.
This resolution comes before you at a critical time for states and for the nation. Given the unprecedented budget challenges, state leaders, perhaps now more than ever, must prioritize their policy goals and dedicate funding only to proven, cost-effective solutions.
At the Pew Center on the States, we seek to advance states’ fiscal health and economic competitiveness by supporting research-based policy making and wise investments in programs that work. Quality early education offers states and taxpayers a guaranteed return on investment, one that helps to build human capital and advance states’ long-term economic health.
High-quality pre-k has been one of the most rigorously researched education strategies of the last 40 years. Study after study has demonstrated that it leads to significant gains for both children and their communities in both the
short- and long-term. Many of these outcomes are outlined in the Resolution in Support of Pre-Kindergarten Education, before you today.
Policy makers and thought leaders across the country have responded to the research. The Wall Street Journal has called the pre-k movement one of the most significant advances in public education since World War I. Leaders from across the aisle and across a variety of professions support pre-k. Republican and Democratic Governors and Lieutenant Governors, Nobel Laureates like James Heckman, economists like Ben Bernanke, the CEOs of Federal Reserve Banks, doctors, police chiefs, military officers, teachers, parents, and education experts agree that pre-k is an effective, worthy investment. Few policy decisions can simultaneously
- help families prepare children to succeed and thrive in school;
- strengthen our education system;
- provide immediate financial relief to middle class families;
- create jobs; and
- make us more competitive.
The elected officials who have already taken bold stands in support of pre-k are laying the groundwork for their states’ future prosperity. Georgia and Pennsylvania provide two examples. In spite of being hit hard by the recession, these two governors – who are from different political parties – agree that now is the time for increased investment in pre-k. Like other leaders in their states and beyond, they recognize that an economic downturn is, in fact, a critical moment to focus our attention on policies that will simultaneously save states money down the road and improve the competitiveness of our future workforce.
Lieutenant Governors and Governors have been among the most effective champions in the development and funding of pre-k programs over the past ten years. This NLGA resolution takes this support one important step further during a time of fiscal crisis – a time that calls upon leaders to revisit policy priorities and recommit to investing in what works.
It’s time to choose wisely. Therefore, Pre-K Now the Pew Center on the States strongly urge you to put your influence and your support behind this resolution and pre-k programs in your home states.
Thank you for your time and consideration.