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NYC should fund its own pre-K program

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In response to your editorial piece written on Feb. 18 titled “Equal Access,” the research is clear that universal pre-K helps prepare children for school and success later in life.

A December 2013 study by economists Elizabeth U. Cascio and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach found that the benefits continued through eighth grade.

Model state preschool programs in Georgia and Oklahoma boosted math scores for low-income children as late as eighth grade, and increased the odds that their mothers would work and that they’d spend quality time with their children.

A National Bureau of Economic Research from May 2013 found that pre-K would help us reduce the number of people who would be poor — from almost 36 percent to about 29 percent.

Unfortunately, despite his rhetoric of a blank check, Gov. Cuomo’s budget only includes $100 million in new pre-K funding this year — statewide. New York City has already released a plan that requires $340 million a year.

If New York City is able to implement its plan with its own dedicated funding source, it will leave more money for other communities around the state to implement their own programs, including right here in the north country.

As a result, more of our kids would get state funded pre-K if New York City pays its own way on pre-K.

New York State has promised universal pre-K since 1997, but funding has always fallen short, particularly when times were tough.

Funding pre-K should not be an either/or proposition.

Gov. Cuomo needs to both allocate more state funding and to let New York City implement its plan so the maximum number of 4-year-olds get pre-K.

Bill Dermady


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