Sen. Sal DiDomenico recently testified before the Joint Committee on Education in support of his bill, S.265, An Act ensuring high-quality pre-kindergarten education. This legislation would expand preschool, using grants from the state, beginning with high-needs communities that are ready with a state-approved expansion plan.
“Across Massachusetts, people are ready for more preschool,” said DiDomenico in his testimony before the Committee. “I have heard from countless parents who want this learning opportunity for their children, but often can’t afford it or are on waiting lists. Local communities, led by community-based programs, school districts, and mayors, have solid plans for preschool expansion and are waiting for new public dollars to begin implementation. That is why I filed this legislation, and I am confident this bill is an important next step towards improving and expanding high quality early education for our kids”
Pre-kindergarten education has been proven to have significant short- and long-term impacts on children’s educational, social, and health outcomes. However, about 40 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Massachusetts do not attend preschool. For those children who are enrolled in pre-K, many attend schools with high student-to-teacher ratios, low family engagement, and inadequate teacher qualifications. These children enter kindergarten at a disadvantage as compared to their peers who receive high-quality pre-kindergarten education. These initial setbacks in intellectual, social, and emotional development affect children throughout their lives, as they regularly underperform in school and afterwards.
This legislation filed by Sen. DiDomenico would target underperforming school districts, providing 3- and 4-year-olds in those neighborhoods with pre-K education administered by qualified teachers in programs following federal Preschool Expansion Grant quality standards. Since his election to the Massachusetts Senate in 2010, fighting to provide kids in the Commonwealth with access to high quality early education has been one of Sen. DiDomenico’s highest legislative priorities. This bill has remained a key component of the Senator’s legislative agenda and is one of his top early education policy items this legislative session.