States’ resources are scarcer than they have been in decades, and hard choices must be made about where and how they are best spent. Budget proposals for FY10 indicate that most governors recognize the educational and economic necessity of high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten and are fighting to maintain or even grow investments in early learning.
When governors choose to protect or increase state pre-k funding, they make a down payment on children’s school readiness and on their states’ economic wellbeing. In the near term, high-quality early education provides young children access to essential learning opportunities and supports working families striving to make ends meet by increasing the affordability of programs and helping them save, pay down debts and afford other necessities. Over the long run, pre-k builds essential human capital and generates robust returns on investment in the form of savings to public education, criminal justice and other systems.