Washington, DC -
05/11/2009 - Susan K. Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, released the following statement about President Obama’s budget request for FY10. The proposal includes:
•$500 million for grants under Title I to fund pre-kindergarten in schools serving high percentages of low-income children;
•$300 million for a new Early Learning Challenge fund, grants that could be used by states to improve pre-k quality; and
•A $124 million down-payment on a proposed 10-year, $8.6 billion initiative supporting evidence-based, voluntary home visitation programs for low-income parents.
“The president’s budget demonstrates a commitment to proven strategies that promote children’s school readiness and our nation’s prosperity. Federal and state governments need to invest their limited resources in research-based programs that produce the greatest returns, and the Administration’s early childhood initiatives reflect that wise approach.
“Every dollar put toward quality pre-k is both an educational and economic stimulus, generating an annual rate of return of up to 16 percent over the lifetime of a child. The Title I early childhood grants to school districts and the Early Learning Challenge grants to states are critical steps that—if approved and well-implemented—will help expand quality pre-k to more families.
“The new dollars for home visitation programs are an important recognition of the benefits we reap when we help new parents become strong mothers and fathers. Mentoring young parents so they can provide for their infant’s health, safety and cognitive development prevents a host of expensive problems, from medical emergencies to juvenile delinquency. The pay-off is a return of up to $5.70 on each dollar we invest in high-quality home visitation programs serving at-risk families.
“We urge Congress to support the president’s proposed initiatives on quality pre-k and home visitation—because we know that investing in young children yields the best return.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts applies the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Our Center on the States identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues facing states. Online at www.pewcenteronthestates.org.