Ramos: Pre-K Amendment Would Ensure All Children Have Access to Early Education

March 2, 2003

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) today introduced an amendment to the state constitution that would make pre-kindergarten and kindergarten a permanent part of New York’s education system – guaranteeing all students a head start on academic achievement and future success.

“For too long, children of our community have been shortchanged. Our kids have been forced to learn in overcrowded classrooms and the governor’s cuts to education will make overcrowding even worse,” Ramos, a member of the Assembly’s Education Committee, said. “Universal pre-K will give children in our community – as well as countless others across New York – a desperately needed jump-start on their futures.”

Ramos noted the governor’s budget proposes education cuts of historic proportions that would lock 60,000 kids out of pre-kindergarten. It also cuts funding for class size reduction and full day kindergarten.

Research shows that children who attend pre-K programs have higher reading and math scores and are more likely to enjoy long-term academic success. And, according to a recent study by Chicago’s Child-Parent Centers, kids who attend pre-K are 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18. The new amendment is similar to an initiative adopted overwhelmingly last year by Florida voters, after being endorsed by Governor Jeb Bush. According to the Education Commission of the States, 43 states offer pre-kindergarten programs.

Ramos cited a recent report by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University stating investments in pre-K could save Florida school districts between $2 billion and $3 billion by saving money on special education and eliminating the need for students to repeat certain grades.

“By guaranteeing all our children can get on the right path today, we give them a better chance to succeed tomorrow,” Ramos said. “In the Assembly, I’ll continue to fight for our children and their future.”