Meeting Provided Attendees with Information
to Bring Pre-K Expansion to 50,000 NJ Children Waiting Since 2008
EDISON & MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – Pre-K Our Way, a nonprofit, statewide organization focused on creating public awareness and discussion of New Jersey’s high-quality, publicly-funded pre-k program and the 2008 New Jersey law to expand it to more three- and four-year old children in New Jersey, held two community communications meetings in late November to engage attendees in the effort and ensure pre-k expansion is part of the 2017 gubernatorial and legislative discussions.
The meetings were attended by representatives of 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties, living in 34 of the state's 40 legislative districts, and with direct connection via family, friends or community to 45,000 of the 50,000 kids waiting each year for the preschool promised by law in 2008.
New Jersey has one of the best, most successful and high-quality public preschool programs in the country. Kids attending New Jersey’s program have a 20-40 percent increase in elementary test scores and are three-quarters of an academic year ahead by 4th or 5th grade.
Understanding the importance of a preschool education for New Jersey’s three- and four year olds, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill in 2008 to expand preschool to 50,000 NJ children each year in more than 100 additional communities plus all at-risk children in the state. Unfortunately, this law was never funded, leaving 50,000 New Jersey kids waiting for pre-k each year, including 4,356 of three- and four-year old children in Camden County. Children in all communities in Camden County but one could see an expansion of pre-k.
“Since the state has not prioritized pre-k expansion funding in New Jersey, 50,000 kids wait each year to start their education. That’s not right,” said Sam Crane of Pre-K Our Way. “The time is now to lay the foundation for the first months – and the first budget – of a new Administration in Trenton in 2018. By working with individuals in local communities, Pre-K Our Way enables communities to engage and communicate why pre-k is important, and lets decision makers know why expanding high-quality, full-day preschool for New Jersey’s three- and four-year-olds is a priority for them personally and for their individual communities.”
Over the past 19 months, Pre-K Our Way has held three regional forums and co-hosted local meetings with more than 80 communities around the state, building a movement with more than 27,000 individual supporters and more than 50 advocate organizations.
Pre-K Our Way, a nonpartisan and nonprofit community-based organization, coordinated through a diverse group of business leaders, parents, foundations, early childhood educators, community leaders interested citizens and elected officials, engages communities on expanding NJ’s existing high-quality public preschool for their children. Visit our website at www.prekourway.org for more information.