Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), along with Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) today introduced the "Prepare All Kids Act," which would help states provide voluntary high quality pre-kindergarten programs that will prepare children-- particularly low-income children-- for a successful start in elementary school. The bill is the House companion to S. 502, introduced by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) earlier this month.
"The sooner children begin learning; the more opportunities are available to them down the road. We need to do what we can to ensure that all children have access to early education," Rep. Maloney said. "This kind of program will reap rewards for all generations as we invest in our children and, through them, in our futures. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in high quality prekindergarten, up to $7 can be saved in other costs, including crime and welfare."
"High-quality early education puts children on a path to succeed academically and in life," said Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. "In order to have a skilled workforce for the 21st century, we must ensure that education is a priority. Research has proven how vital investment in early education is to ensuring that no child starts school behind, and that is why this bill is so important to families in Pennsylvania and nationwide."
The bill will:
- Create a grant program under the Department of Education to providing funding for States to take part in full-day and year-round prekindergarten programs;
- Meet the needs of children and working parents -- specifically low income families -- by providing specific funding for states to serve infants and toddlers, from birth to age three;
- In order for states to take part in this grant program they must meet the following qualifications:
* Ensure high quality learning, by requiring prekindergarten programs to utilize a research-based curriculum that supports children's cognitive, social, emotional and physical development and individual learning styles;
* Ensure high quality education, by limiting classroom size to a maximum of 20 children and children-to-teacher ratios of no more than 10:1 and requiring that prekindergarten teachers have bachelor's degrees.