By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With the Philadelphia School District struggling under a giant budget deficit (see related story), city councilmembers and community groups gathered today at City Hall to announce a small but important fund to expand early childhood education programs.
While politicians and nonprofit members were detailing the benefits of preschool, perhaps the best evidence was little Jeovanie.
“Thank for you for investing me in my future,” he told the group.
He says Head Start has given him a leg up: “Math. Division, subtraction, and addition.”
Now, adding to Philadelphia’s efforts toward molding younger minds is $1 million — half from the city, half a grant from the William Penn Foundation.
Dolores Shaw, with Philadelphia for Early Childhood Education, says the money — for the “facilities fund” in Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Community Development — will help turn child care centers into places of learning.
“A lot of the community providers don’t have the facilities or the professionals to do the work at the standards we know that our children need,” she said today.
It’s just a start, but with statistics showing the high return on this kind of investment, Shaw says she expects more public and private support.
“Next year when we come here, it’ll be a bigger table and more money that we can put together,” she said.