GREENE – At a press conference held at the Greene Intermediate School on Monday, February 24 U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Richard Hanna announced legislation to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five.
In an effort to broaden the funding to public schools necessary to the operation of Universal Pre-K programs – much like the program offered in the Greene Central School District – Gillibrand and Hannah have vehemently campaigned to secure federal dollars which will enable all districts in the state to do just that.
“This is a program that would allow the Federal Government to give funds to the states with the goal and the guidance to the states that they would fund all universals Pre-K, so that all children would have full access to Universal Pre-K,” said Gillibrand.
This act is intended to support quality Pre-K and make it more accessible to more children with the trickle-down benefits of increasing opportunity for stay at home mothers to seek and further their education and gainful employment.
According to a release from Congress, research has consistently shown that high quality early learning programs improve cognitive, social, emotional, and language development, which are necessary skills for life. In addition, research shows that lowest«income and disadvantaged children are the least likely to participate in preschool programs. And children from middle-class families are only slightly more likely to participate Preschool opportunities for 3-year-olds appear to be a particular challenge for some middle income families. Among 34 percent of children in families earning $50,000 to $60,000 participate in preschool programs, compared to 42 percent of children in families earning less than $10,000.