State-funding for Pre-K in Montana Gains Momentum

Pre-K is an excellent opportunity for Montana to improve the lives of children, families, and strengthen our communities, and press and policymakers are starting to take note.

Montana Budget and Policy Center’s work on the benefits of pre-Kindergarten has been cited in several newspapers around the state lately, as evidence to why state-funded pre-K would benefit Montana’s children.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle Editorial: Lawmakers urged to do right thing for Montana’s children, June 10, 2014.

The Montana Budget & Policy Center recently issued a report that concluded that pre-kindergarten schooling raises IQs, enhances math and reading schools in later grades, lowers dropout rates and decreases the likelihood that students will abuse alcohol or drugs and end up in trouble with the law later in life.

Dropouts, drug abuse and crime are all societal ills that come with heavy costs to our justice system and publicly funded rehabilitation programs. Spending a little money providing preschool to all the state’s children now could save a lot of money down the road.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Bozeman educators learn about governor’s plan to expand preschool, May 29, 2014.

[Superintendent] Watson shared copies of a report by the Montana Budget & Policy Center, which made the case that pre-kindergarten education can help Montana children, particularly the 20 percent who live in poverty.

Benefits include raising children’s IQs and improving reading and math skills, the report said. Children are less likely to drop out, become delinquent, be arrested and get into drugs. Pre-kindergarten schools help working parents and help businesses keep their employees.

Missoulian: Business Leaders’ Summit on Early Childhood Education meets in Missoula, May 28, 2014.

A report by the Montana Budget and Policy Center found that a universal program would begin paying for itself in nine years and cost $88 million a year to run once fully phased in. By 2050, the costs are estimated at $212 million, far less than the $1.7 billion in anticipated benefits.

Missoulian Editorial: Investment in early education will pay off exponentially, June 1, 2014.

A comprehensive look at the economics of early childhood education in Montana can be found in the Montana Budget and Policy Center’s 10-page report “Pre-Kindergarten: An Investment in Montana’s Future” (Fall 2013).

With solid research backing up the push for universal pre-kindergarten education in Montana, the initiative is being embraced by local, state and government officials, social welfare agencies, nonprofits, churches and charities and a host of others.

For more information about pre-K in Montana, be sure to read our reports: Pre-Kindergarten: An Investment in Montana’s Future and The High Cost of Child Care: State Funding for Pre-K Would Benefit Montana Families.

 

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