January 29, 2014
By Stephanie West
Albany, NY – Early education experts submitted testimony yesterday calling on the Governor and Legislature to allow New York City to implement its plan for universal Pre-K and afterschool, adding more momentum to the campaign. The testimony comes one day after the City released a full implementation plan that The New York Times says “makes a persuasive case” for the Mayor's plan.
Steven Barnett, Executive Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, submitted testimony that noted that, “The magnitude of the investment that UPK needs in New York should not be underestimated–the need is not just to expand access, but also to raise quality and offer a full school day.”
United Neighborhood Houses of New York, one of the largest human service systems in New York City, with 38 agencies working at more than 400 sites and reaching half million New Yorkers each year, called on the Legislature and Governor to “give New York City the authority to set its own tax rates so that the City can implement a targeted tax increase in order to invest in truly Universal Pre-Kindergarten and after-school.”
A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that a significant majority of New York City voters – 74% – support the Mayor’s plan. The New York Times/Siena poll of New York City residents found that 72% are supportive of the Mayor’s plan.
Early childhood education experts agree that investments in pre-k and after-school programs provide major economic benefits in the short and long term. A study by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank found that early education investments far exceed the return on investment of other economic development projects. Investing in children early avoids costly outcomes like incarceration, special education, teen pregnancy, and future low earnings.