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Testimony on S.326, An Act to achieve universal pre-kindergarten

July 2, 2019 Dear Chairs Lewis and Peisch, Thank you for allowing me to voice my support for Senate Bill 326, An Act to achieve universal pre-kindergarten. Our children are the future of Massachusetts and a high-quality education is one of the most important factors in success in life. Pre-kindergarten (pre-k) is the first step on a child’s path to success. This bill seeks to give all of our children in the commonwealth an equal opportunity to take that first step.

The benefits of pre-k have been supported by substantive research. Children who attend pre-k are better prepared for kindergarten and beyond.1 Pre-kindergarten especially benefits children from low-income communities. Disadvantaged children benefit from interactions with classmates from a diverse socioeconomic background. These benefits are seen in the short-term with 2 increased academic performance, but also in the long-term, with economic benefits. Children with a preschool education on average earn more, their parents will be able to earn more income if they are allowed to return to the workforce, and the state will not have to spend as much money on economic assistance.3 New York City’s universal pre-k program has been remarkably successful since its implementation in 2014 and has recently expanded to include pre-kindergarten for 3 year olds, also known as 3-K. The City of Boston is also looking to complete its universal 4 pre-kindergarten initiative. By establishing a commission on universal pre-kindergarten, this bill 5 is the first step to the implementation of universal pre-kindergarten and 3-K in the commonwealth.

Every child should be able to reap the benefits that come with universal pre-kindergarten. The passage of this bill will give our children and our commonwealth a brighter future. I urge the committee to vote in support of this bill to provide equitable access to pre-kindergarten for all children in the commonwealth.

Sincerely, Maria D. Robinson State Representative 6th MIDDLESEX DISTRICT

1 https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/03/524907739/pre-k-decades-worth-of-studies-one-strong-message

2 https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/03/524907739/pre-k-decades-worth-of-studies-one-strong-message 3 https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/news/2017/10/31/441825/the-cost-of-inaction-on-universal-preschool/

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