HONOLULU -- The Good Beginnings Alliance stands firmly behind President Barack Obama’s plans for federal investment in early learning from age zero to five, a plan that guarantees preschool for all 4-year-olds in the nation. His support also gives Hawai‘i another reason to establish a state-funded preschool for 4-year-olds across the islands.
“Establishing a state-funded early learning program in Hawai‘i could enable the state to be poised to partner with the federal government to receive millions of dollars in financial assistance to boost enrollment in early education settings across the state,” Good Beginnings Alliance Executive Director Deborah Zysman said on the same day President Obama toured preschools in the state of Georgia, which already has state-funded universal preschool in place.
“Hawai‘i is one of 11 states without a state-funded universal preschool program. The president’s support is in line with legislation currently moving through the state Legislature to establish a state-funded early learning system here,” Zysman said. “It’s important for us to take action to tap our fair share of federal funding for Hawai‘i’s children.”
Under the President’s “Preschool for All” plan, the White House is looking to improve quality and expand access to preschool through a cost-sharing partnership with all 50 states and to extend federal funds to expand high-quality public preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income four-year olds from families at or below 200% of poverty.
Early learning is not just about preschool and the President intends to expand both Head Start forinfants and toddlers as well as evidence-based, voluntary home visiting programs to supportparents.
The Good Beginnings Alliance through its “Be My Voice! Hawai‘i” campaign is advocating forfunding for preschool for all Hawai‘i 4-year-olds and has launched a media blitz to educate thecommunity about the issue and garner public support to help move the bills and funding throughthe state Legislature.
“Now is the time. From the governor to business leaders to early learning providers and now Hawai‘i’s President – the community is lined up and the perfect storm exists to make a change that has immediate and lasting impact on our state,” Zysman said.
Go to BeMyVoiceHawaii.org to get more information. Send a message telling your Legislator that you stand with the President in making access to preschool a priority for our state – and our country.
Good Beginnings Alliance is Hawai‘i’s leading independent voice advocating for the rights of the whole child: safety, health, and education. The grassroots, public will-building campaign, Be My Voice! Hawai‘i, is committed to ensuring every child has access to quality preschool so they can succeed in school and in life. www.bemyvoicehawaii.org