By: Chara Fisher Jackson, Opinion Contributor Access article
At Cincinnati Preschool Promise, our mission is to ensure that every Cincinnati child – regardless of their race, their family’s income, or the ZIP code they live in – has access to high-quality early education so that they are prepared for kindergarten and beyond. The importance of giving children who would not normally have access to high-quality early education a fair start cannot be understated. The budget proposal under consideration in the Statehouse would reverse this progress and betray the significant investment that has been made locally.
We know that children who start behind often stay behind and that educational gaps that emerge early widen year after year. Decades of research affirms that quality child care and preschool programs hold the promise to close these gaps by helping vulnerable children develop the educational, emotional and social skills necessary to succeed in school, career and life. Step Up To Quality has been vital to building a quality early education system in Ohio, providing low-income and minority children access to high-quality early learning programs that their parents otherwise could not afford.
Cincinnati Preschool Promise was created after Cincinnati taxpayers approved a 5-year multi-million-dollar levy to expand children’s access to high-quality preschool. The passage of this levy shows that our community both values high-quality early education and is willing to invest millions of dollars to be a partner with the state to advance Step Up To Quality. Now in our fourth year, Cincinnati Preschool Promise has provided tuition assistance to more than 4,000 children to attend high-quality preschool. Our community’s investment has produced astonishing results: Last year, 78.4% of preschoolers who attended high-quality preschools with tuition assistance from Cincinnati Preschool Promise entered kindergarten ready to learn.