Legislative leaders and educators gathered at the State Capitol this morning to announce Connecticut Smart Start, an historic 10-year, $200 million plan to provide 50,000 children with a high-quality early education experience and set Connecticut on a path toward universal pre-kindergarten.
“This initiative gives teachers a much better chance of reaching young minds and opening them up to a myriad of possibilities, so that they can make their own lives better,” said Connecticut 2013 Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger. “As the research shows, it will help to close the achievement gap, but it’s about more than just academics and test scores. It’s about kids getting a real opportunity to become good citizens and make a better state, a better nation, and a better world.”
CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “This pre-K initiative is a tremendous step forward for Connecticut. Teachers’ rooms today are ringing with applause as educators celebrate this new recognition of the importance of high-quality, universal pre-K. The leadership shown by Senator Williams and his colleagues in spearheading this program will help thousands of children succeed in school and in life.”
“This is the opportunity breakthrough Connecticut’s children need,” said Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. “Children who experience high quality pre-K arrive at school ready to learn, are less likely to need remedial or special education services and have higher rates of high school graduation. Connecticut Smart Start will help level the playing field for tens of thousands of children—it’s the best educational investment we can make.”
Watch excerpts from the news conference here or below.