Dear TAPInto Editor,
There’s no question that every child, ages 3-4, should have access to pre-kindergarten. The question is how best to provide it.
Early Childhood Education Advocates, Inc., which works to ensure a robust early childhood industry in the state, believes there is a logical way to achieve universal Pre-K for children most in need, while streamlining costs and enhancing service to working families.
Instead of sending state funds to public school districts - with a lottery system giving children from wealthy families the same weight as children in poverty - precious taxpayer dollars should only support students of low-income families.
To achieve universal Pre-K, money should follow the children most in need to a program in the community, offering the same quality of care for 25% less than public schools, while allowing for longer school days and school years at no additional cost.
This approach would allow parents to select the center and program that best meets their needs, rather than just being forced to attend a specific public school.
School districts would also be off the hook for providing universal Pre-K, and focus on their constitutional mandate of grades 1-12. Meanwhile, critical resources could be saved without additional pension and insurance costs.
This is all common sense. New Jersey must embrace these types of public/private partnerships, using a limited pool of money for the maximum benefit.
Early Childhood Education Advocates, Inc.