Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State has been awarded approximately $25 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education to support pre-k programs in New York City, Yonkers, Uniondale, Indian River and Port Chester. In addition to being based in communities with high poverty rates, these districts serve high numbers of children who are Dual Language Learners.
“This funding represents another step forward in our effort to create new learning opportunities for some of our youngest New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “By expanding pre-kindergarten across the State we’re giving children the chance to learn from an even earlier age and raising the bar for how this country prepares its student for the future. Our administration is fundamentally reimagining New York’s schools with that in mind, and I am proud to have the federal government’s support in this endeavor.”
New York State expects to create 1,725 new full-day slots and improve an additional 1,350 existing slots to meet the definition of a full-day High-Quality Preschool Program. This funding opportunity will allow the State to continue implementing the largest expansion of full-day pre-kindergarten in New York’s history.
The $25 million award represents year one of this federal grant. New York State applied for a total of $100 million over four years, and further allocations up to that $100 million are subject to the State’s progress in achieving its benchmarks in these districts and the availability of funds.
Final district-level allocations are subject to further review and discussion with the federal government, but initial budgeted awards for the first year of the program as as follows: $9 million for New York City, $9.6 million for Yonkers, $1.8 million for Port Chester, $1.5 million for Indian River, and $1.9 million for Uniondale. New York will also receive funding to invest in State-level infrastructure.
This funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grants program. A total of 35 states and Puerto Rico submitted applications to the program this year, but New York is one of only 18 to receive funding.
Studies show that children who participate in high-quality early care and education programs are far more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school and that quality full-day pre-kindergarten programs in particular are credited with producing significant increases in student performance in math and reading for participating students by the second grade as well as decreasing the rates of grade retention.
Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “Giving New York’s children a chance to be better prepared for kindergarten and the grades beyond is the key to a bright academic future – it’s a true jumpstart on life. This massive federal Department of Education investment for preschool expansion, including growing pre-kindergarten programs in New York, is crucial both for the success of these children and for our state, and I’ll continue to fight for these childhood development programs to remain a top funding priority in Congress.”
Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, “I’m proud to see our Governor build on the President’s call to prioritize early childhood education, which is one of the best and most important investments we can make. Expanding access to high-quality early childhood education to every child in New York and across our Great Nation is absolutely critical to strengthening our national security and the future of America.”
Congressman Eliot Engel said, “As a former public school teacher, I understand that few investments yield a higher rate of return than a solid education. Children from low-income families often face substantial hurdles that limit their access to quality early education programs. This federal funding will enable New York City and the City of Yonkers to expand their full-day pre-kindergarten programs and better serve the needs of some of our most vulnerable students. By increasing access to early education, we can help more students start their academic careers on the right track.”
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, “Early childhood education is one of the smartest investments we can make and I’m proud this grant enables unprecedented expansion of Pre-K programs in Port Chester and communities throughout New York. These federal dollars will provide children in need with early access to a quality learning environment. As the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I fought to provide this funding and will continue to advocate for resources that help children and families.”
Congressman José E. Serrano said, “There is nothing more important to a child’s education and academic success than laying a solid foundation from an early age. This federal funding will allow New York City to expand access to full-day pre-kindergarten education over the next four years to serve thousands of children more. I applaud Governor Cuomo’s efforts to ensure every child in New York has access to quality academic preparation regardless of his or her socio-economic background.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, “I am pleased the federal government is helping New York fund pre-k programs throughout the state. Pre-k gives children stimulating environments in which to grow and learn, helps parents by providing a safe place for their young children, and ensures that children enter kindergarten ready to learn.”
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy said, “I have been a long-time supporter of early education opportunities for all children. Studies show that children who take part in pre-k programs do better as students when they enter elementary school and they do better later in life. I applaud Governor Cuomo for expanding these valuable early learning programs to areas where children might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a quality pre-k program.”
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, “All children deserve a chance to succeed. Early child development programs, like pre-kindergarten education, are indispensable in building the learning skills necessary to excel in life. That’s why I am pleased that New York State will now be offering over 3,000 children full-day tutelage; giving more of our youth the opportunity and the tools to achieve. I applaud and fully support Governor Cuomo and the Department of Education for providing this important and necessary commitment to the future of our nation, our children.”
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said, “I commend Governor Cuomo on his commitment to expanding access to early childhood education for the children of New York State. The benefits to our civil society are enormous. We know that access to early childhood education allows children to enter elementary school with the skills required to succeed, and has the potential to substantially reduce the disparities that exist in education in the United States. Investments in early childhood education are critical to preparing our young women and young men for the economy of the Twenty-First Century. In addition, these programs will assist parents who want to work but had been unable to afford the high cost of child care.”
Congressman Bill Owens said, “Investing in students early in life gives them the best chance to learn the skills they will need to succeed in a competitive workforce. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the U.S. Department of Education for funding these improvements to early childhood education in our region.”
Congressman Michael Grimm said, “Providing quality early childhood education is a vital asset in building bright, successful futures for our children. These crucial investments in expanded pre-k programs will lay the groundwork for a competitive workforce and long-term, family-supporting careers for hardworking New Yorkers, so I applaud Governor Cuomo for his partnership in this all-too-important effort for our state.”