In the News

Multnomah County’s Preschool for All Ready to Launch

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR, August 18, 2022 – The Multnomah County (OR) Preschool for All program will open in September. After voters passed an income tax referendum in November of 2020, the program is ready to launch.  In its first year, more than 600 three-and-four-year-old children will attend tuition-free Preschool for All. With over 1,100 applications the county hopes to be able to add another 500 slots in the 2023-2024 school year.

Read our case study about the Multnomah County Preschool for All referendum that gained 64% of the vote to establish a tuition-free, universal preschool program funded by a progressive income tax. The measure is considered a model for communities across the country because the taxation is based on income.

 

 

Buncombe Commits $3M in ARPA Funds to Preschool Programs

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC, MAY 17, 2022 – When a child with freshly combed hair and an oversized backpack walks into the first day of kindergarten, 90% of that child’s brain has already developed.

Development continues over the next several years, according to researchers with Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, but it’s during those first five years — roughly 2,000 days — that a person establishes the foundation for cognitive, social and emotional growth. “While there’s obviously the ability to continue to learn, the issue is that it will take more time and effort,” said Amy Barry, executive director for Buncombe Partnership for Children, or BPFC.

For children’s development to be optimized, they need to be engaged and challenged during those first five years. But how can parents, who often have jobs and other children, ensure their kids receive all the tools they need to grow into critical thinkers with emotional regulation and social awareness?

According to Barry and the rest of the BPFC team, the answer is simple: preschool. Read more.

Pre-K 4 SA Adds 3-Year-Olds, Expands Free Program for Families

SAN ANTONIO, TX, MAY 4, 2022 – Pre-K 4 SA announced Wednesday it will open enrollment to 3-year-olds and expand access to free pre-kindergarten for families making less than $75,000.

The expansion was driven by feedback from families that said they earned too much to qualify for free pre-K but too little to afford a quality program, said Paul Chapman, interim chief operating officer. San Antonio families can begin enrolling their 3-year-olds for the 2022-23 school year Monday. Children must be 3 by Sept. 1 to enroll. Previously, Pre-K 4 SA only enrolled 4-year-olds.

Pre-K 4 SA also has created a scholarship structure that will allow any family earning up to $75,000 a year to have their 3- and 4-year-olds attend free of charge, CEO Sarah Baray said Wednesday at a press conference. Previously, Pre-K 4 SA only offered free, full-day pre-K to families considered to be economically disadvantaged or whose children qualified for the free- or reduced-price lunch program. Read more.

Multnomah County’s Universal Preschool Initiative Not Universal — Yet

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR, MAY 2, 2022 – Interest in Multnomah County’s Preschool for All program has already exceeded the number of available slots, in just the first few weeks it’s been open.

For its first year, Preschool For All has 677 slots available for 3- and 4-year-olds in Multnomah County this fall. So far, Multnomah County Preschool and Early Learning Director Leslee Barnes said they’ve received a little over 800 applications.

“Parents are really showing us that this is something they really need, and are looking forward to,” Barnes said. Barnes said about 70% of applications identify with groups that historically have the least access to preschool, including families of color and families experiencing homelessness. Children in those groups are given priority to the preschool programs.

Last summer, providers signed up to be in the Preschool For All system as a “pilot site” to offer spots and contract with the county to offer free preschool. Read more.

New Orleans Voters Approve Early Childhood Education Tax

NEW ORLEANS, LA, APRIL 30, 2022 – A new property tax that’s expected to pull in $21 million annually for early childhood education in New Orleans was poised to pass by a wide margin in Saturday’s election. With only a few precincts uncounted as of 10:15 p.m., 61 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the tax.

The tax proposition was the only item on the New Orleans ballot in Saturday’s election, leading to a low turnout in the city: 24,611 of the New Orleans’ 267,266 registered voters, with 347 out of 351 precincts — or about 99 percent of the city — tallied.

The revenue generated by the tax will fund an additional 1,000 early childhood education seats for New Orleans students. A state matching grant could double that, expanding the program to 2,000 seats. Either way, it will vastly expand the city’s current program which is funded at $3 million per year, creating 200 seats.

The New Orleans city government began directly funding early childhood education in 2018 with a $750,000 pilot program. The city doubled that investment to $1.5 million in 2019, and doubled it again in 2020 to reach $3 million. Those funds are used to pay the tuition costs for private early childhood education programs for kids who can’t afford them. Read more.

Cincinnati Preschool Promise Training Men of Color as Tutors

The Cincinnati Preschool Promise is teaming up with Literacy Lab to train 100 men of color to tutor young children in its preschool program.  Literacy Lab is based on the Reading Corp model, which has worked in 12 states, supporting 36,000 each year in becoming proficient readers. Multiple funders have come together to provide $4.6 million to launch the program. Read more about Reading Corp, Literacy Lab and the new Cincinnati initiative.

New Orleans Property Tax Measure for Early Learning on April 2022 Ballot

The New Orleans City Council has approved a ballot measure for the April 2022 election to raise funds for more children to attend preschool and to support the expansion of providers needed. An estimated $21 million in revenue from a property tax increase would give 1,500 more children access to early childhood programming. Currently the City Council provides $3 million.   This effort follows an unsuccessful campaign in 2020 to increase property taxes for early learning.

 

 

What Aiming High Did for San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA

The success of San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA program is now looked to as a possible model as Congress considers universal Pre-K for young children across the nation.  In this story, the Guardian speaks to San Antonio parents and the architect of the program, highlighting access for families, professional development and competitive grants to promote high quality care.  You can also read our updated case study on San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA.

 

Voters Ready to Raise Local Taxes to Support Early Childhood Education

More than 80% of voters believe that creating equitable opportunities for children to get a strong start in life should be one of the highest priorities for government—and they are willing to raise their own local taxes to make those opportunities possible. This finding, and others about voters’ attitudes toward funding for children and youth services, comes from a new national poll of U.S. voters who participated in the 2020 election, commissioned by Children’s Funding Accelerator and conducted by FM3 Research in August 2021.

Read the Children’s Funding Initiative blog and download and share the infographic about the survey highlights.

 

 

 

 

Wake County NC Expands Pre-K to Three-Year Olds

Wake County NC announced it will now offer pre-kindergarten to eligible three-year-olds starting in 2022. Since 2015, the county has supplemented the state NC Pre-K program to support more 4-year-old children’s kindergarten readiness. With 86% of eligible children accessing NC Pre-K in Wake County, Commissioners voted to create Wake ThreeSchool for three-year-olds. With Wake County being the largest school system in the state, ensuring more children are ready for kindergarten is significant. Read the county’s press release here. Read our original case study of Wake County that describes its investment in NC Pre-K.