State Budget Funds More Pre-K in NJ
Sam Crane, spokesperson for Pre-K Our Way, explains how the state’s adopted budget of $25 million towards preschool expansion will help fund more public preschool programs regardless of where they live.
"We are pleased to welcome our good friend Sam Crane, spokesman for Pre-K Our Way, an organization that's trying to make a difference when it comes to having universal pre-K across the state of New Jersey, right? Yes. Primarily. In 2008, the legislature, and then Governor Corzine, passed a law that would expand New Jersey's high quality existing program, that's in 35 school districts across the state, to 102 more districts, plus assistance for students in the balance of the districts who are at-risk. Right. Because they determined that investing in early childhood education was the way in which to improve the education system, and the outcomes for those children. Let's talk about who they are. Who are these children? Yeah. These children are three and four years olds of working parents, both of them going to work, a lot of them working two jobs, and whatever. And these kids need stimulus. They need this. They are like sponges at that age. Right. We've all seen how they just learn and learn and learn. And the results of the existing program in the 35 districts, the kids are now through the fifth grade, they're testing higher than their peers. So... They're doing better? They're doing better. And they could potentially do better in life. And I think we'll see higher graduation rates, et cetera. Sam excuse me. Excuse me for interrupting. Define "do better in life". There is an organization, Fight Crime: Support Kids, and they are championing early childhood education, because they see the end result of a bad education system. Which is incarceration, and failed lives. And they believe that they... the kids get started early, they learn early, they'll be more successful throughout their life. Sam Crane knows a little bit about state government. He served as State Treasurer, during what years? 1992 and '93. And back in the day, when I was in... a young pup in the state legislature, for a very short period of time, an undistinguished period of time. [laughter] Sam Crane was the most important person that legislators went to for advice on the executive staff end. And you understood that process better than most. And there's a point to this. As this last budget process happened, we're doing this program in the middle of July of 2017, there was a debate, and an issue, not even really a debate, but there was a 25 million dollar appropriation for expansion of pre-K. It passed. What does it mean, Sam? It is the initial step towards a five year implementation program to fund a 2008 law that I spoke about earlier. Yes. It is a statement by the legislature, and in this case, signed by a governor. That expansion is important. It enjoys..."