The Governor cites statistics that show early childhood education is effective in narrowing the achievement gap, improving high school graduation rates, increasing wages, and reducing costs for remedial education, social services, health care, and incarceration.
“Every expert will tell you that early education makes a difference, and makes a difference for life.” — Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York currently authorizes universal pre-k, but it is only offered by 67 percent of school districts and, on average, the programs offer only 2.5 hours of instruction per day. Cuomo announced that the state will expand pre-kindergarten programs to full-day, starting with the neediest districts. The Governor did not propose any new funding for pre-kindergarten programs, which budget-strained school districts would need to implement his proposal.
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Richard C. Iannuzzi, in a statement made following the Governor’s address, said the expansion of pre-k programs, and other proposals for education, have the potential to accelerate learning in New York schools. He expects to see more details when the Governor presents his budget for the state.
The union is prepared to work with the Governor on specifics as the budget process begins, according to NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta.