“I think the Substitute Bill 24 really takes into account a teacher’s perspective,” Kristen Record, a Stratford teacher and Connecticut’s 2011 Teacher of the Year, told the hosts of Channel 8’s Good Morning Connecticut today. “So often teachers feel education reform is done to us rather than with us, and I think the lawmakers really took the time to listen to teachers’ concerns.”
When asked what she thinks the most important part of education reform is, Record responded: “early childhood intervention and early childhood education.”
“I see that even impacting the experiences my high-school students have,” she continued. “We talk about an achievement gap, but we also have an opportunity gap.”
A report released today by the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) shows that nationwide funding for state pre-k programs has plummeted by more than $700 per child over the past decade — keeping the quality of many states’ preschools low even as enrollment has grown. Connecticut has kept up its quality, ranking number two on resources based on state spending, but ranks eighth in access for three-year-olds and twenty-ninth in access for four-year-olds to pre-k.
CEA strongly supports the provision in Substitute Bill 24 that would increase access to pre-k for Connecticut children, creating an additional 1,000 seats – an increase of 500 over the governor’s original proposal.
CEA has long supported increasing early childhood education and has advocated for universal pre-k for the state. As the NIEER report states, research shows that “high-quality pre-k programs significantly help prepare children for school. This in turn leads to a more educated population with higher-paying jobs, fewer social problems like crime and delinquency, and a strong economic return on the dollars invested in pre-k.”