Why Pre-K Matters
Pre-K is important for Delaware’s:
- Children: pre-K helps children succeed in school and later in life—by improving school readiness and reading levels—and reducing special education and health care costs.
- Families: pre-K access improves parental workforce and education participation.
- Economy: research shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education, society gains up to $10 in economic returns over the long-term.
- Equity: all kids deserve the best start in life, but geographical barriers and affordability concerns make access difficult for many families.
- Less than 5% of Delaware’s three- and four-year-olds have access to state funded pre-K, and there are waiting lists at all locations.
- Delaware ranks 41st among all states in this area.
Investments in Community-Based Child Care Providers: Child care providers need support, particularly investments to help the teachers attain certification and be paid a living wage. Child care professionals earn just over $10 per hour on average.
Ask Joint Finance Committee members to increase state investments in pre-K by $15 million in FY22 to support the workforce to attain higher qualifications and to expand access to high-quality, mixed-delivery pre-k.
- $15 million/year for each of the next 10 years would enable access for all families who would choose to enroll their four-year-olds.
- Full-day kindergarten was implemented in Delaware in a similar fashion.
- A strong child care industry is essential to a strong mixed-delivery pre-K program; we encourage members of JFC to continue to ALSO increase Purchase of Care investments.