Inaugural School Readiness Report Issued in Pa.; Report Features Gains Made, Improvements Needed in Preparing Pa. Kids for School; PPC Releases 14 Indicators of School Readiness
HARRISBURG, Pa. Aug. 23 -- Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) today released a report on school readiness designed to show gains achieved - and improvements needed - in key areas of preparing young people for school and assuring their success when they get there. The report details 14 indicators that will be used as benchmarks for gauging educational preparedness and progress. The indicators are divided into four categories that assess school readiness: Ready Communities & Families; Ready Services – Health; Ready Services – Early Care & Education; and Ready Schools.
Some of the markers featured in “School Readiness Indicators – 2005” include the number of children living in low-income families; the number of children born to mothers with less than a high school degree; public pre-school enrollment; and class size. One of the gains highlighted in the report is that 51 percent of public school kindergarteners attend full-day classes, compared to 33 percent just three years ago. Children who attend full-day kindergarten score higher on achievements tests, experience fewer grade retentions and require less remediation and special education than peers attending half-day programs.
In contrast, an area cited as needing improvement is in the high- quality childcare indicator. It shows that out of all children 0-4 in Pennsylvania who require childcare services while their parents are working, there is only enough space among high-quality childcare providers to serve 3.9 percent of children, demonstrating a critical unmet need. Children who receive high-quality childcare show better literacy skills and score higher on tests of both cognitive and social skills than children cared for in other arrangements.
“We are at a pivotal point in Pennsylvania policymaking where leaders no longer debate the value of investing in early care and education, but rather, how much should be invested in our youngest citizens,” said Joan L. Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “It is in the best interest of the Commonwealth that every child enters school ready to learn and ready to succeed and that every school is fully equipped to give children a strong start to their education.”
Each August, PPC will update these indicators, measuring improvements against the benchmarks established in the initial report.
The school readiness indicators are designed to give policymakers and community leaders the information they need to evaluate the outcomes of their investments in early care and education and to target resources for the future. These issues are not only in the domain of state government – a child’s family and community play a key role, along with the services available to meet the unique needs of each child. How ready our elementary schools are to educate all children when they arrive will help determine success, too.
Funding for “School Readiness Indicators -2005” was made possible by: The Annenberg Foundation; The Annie E. Casey Foundation – KIDS COUNT; the Donley Foundation; the Grable Foundation; the Howard Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; and the Raymond John Wean Foundation.
To view the School Readiness Indicators fact sheet or corresponding indicator tables, visit the special report section at http://www.papartnerships.org/sr.
More information may be obtained contacting Kathy Geller Myers at PPC at 717-236-5680.
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