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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2019 12:02 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Access to Free Full-Day Kindergarten Impact Study

Pennsylvania is one of just five states across the country that does not require school districts to offer kindergarten. Research suggests that full-day kindergarten can help improve language and literacy skills, increase student achievement, enhance social and emotional skill development, and decrease the need for remediation in later years. Access to free, full-day kindergarten also provides a significant economic benefit for families – especially working mothers – by offering a predictable, safe, high-quality learning environment for children.

While enrollment in full-day kindergarten have increased, many children across Pennsylvania still lack access. In fact, there are nearly 50,000 children who are 5-years-old that are not currently enrolled in school in our state. For this reason I plan to introduce a comprehensive study to explore the impacts of providing universal access to free, full-day kindergarten for all 5-year-olds in the commonwealth. Under this bill, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will contract with a third party to gather information and analyze data from a variety of sources like parents, school districts and other community stakeholders.

This proposal is a part of Governor Wolf’s Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) which takes a holistic approach to the commonwealth’s workforce system from birth to retirement. I hope you will consider joining me in this initiative.

Introduced as SR84