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Report: OH Protecting Pre-K, But More Funding Needed

December 15, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeye State is joining the ranks of states that are protecting their investments in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs despite their shrinking budgets, according to a new national report that also indicates there's still work to be done in Ohio.

Last year, cuts to Ohio's Early Childhood Education program forced the transfer of thousands of children from pre-K programs into a variety of other, publicly-funded childcare programs. Many of these had lower standards, according to Marci Young, director of the "Pre-K Now" campaign for the Pew Center on the States. This year, however, Young says Ohio maintained its funding at $23.3 million.

"It's certainly a step in the right direction, because we know that in a tough economy, it's even more reason for states to invest in pre-K."

Young says Ohio's pre-K program is in urgent need of revitalization after a decade of fluctuating policies and funding. In order to remain competitive with other states, she believes Ohio's leaders need to strengthen their commitments to early learning. She adds that pre-K is one of the most well-researched and successful public education strategies in the past 40 years.

"Quality early education helps children succeed in school and in life, and results in savings for every dollar invested."

The Pew Center on the States' comparison by state is available online at www.preknow.org/votescount/OH.cfm. Overall, it says 15 states and the District of Columbia managed to increase their pre-kindergarten funding for the 2011 fiscal year, with a total overall increase in state funding to $5.4 billion.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH