"Pre-kindergarten education is vitally important for both families and for the economic future of our country," said Casey. "The more children are exposed to positive and enriching education at an early age, the greater their chances are for future economic success. That is why I fought for an amendment that was included in the budget that will pave the way for a future bill to expand access to pre-k for more children."
Earlier this year, the Senate passed a Casey amendment to the Senate Budget that would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund to open the door for future legislation to help states expand access to early childhood education. The fund would be used to provide assistance to states to offer free or subsidized preschool programs for low-income families.
Pre-K Counts is a state-wide non-partisan coalition committed to providing voluntary pre-kindergarten for children in Pennsylvania. The conference today was attended by Pennsylvania's education, business, and community leaders as well as national experts on education. James Rohr, Chairman and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., was the MC of the meeting and W. Steven Barnett, PhD the Director of Rutgers University's National Institute for Early Education Research, discussed several studies that prove how important it is to invest in early childhood education.
At today's event, Senator Casey also expressed his strong support for Governor Rendell's Pre-K Counts proposal to invest $75 million in the FY08 budget to provide 11,000 three- to four- year-olds with voluntary, high-quality pre-kindergarten programs.