Pre-K Our Way began in early 2015 with two goals: raise the priority of NJ’s pre-k and secure funding for pre-k expansion in the NJ first budget of the new governor in 2018. During our first months, three regional communication forums reached hundreds of parents, educators, advocates, elected officials and others representing all 21 NJ counties. The forums provided an in-depth opportunity to communicate NJ’s 2008 law and its foundation for access to state-funded pre-k, and to develop a shared understanding of the challenges to state-funded pre-k in NJ. In addition, the forums articulated a targeted message and strategy focused on securing funding for state-funded pre-k in the first budget of a new governor in 2018. Throughout 2016-2017, there were 80+ local community meetings held across the state – reaching every legislative district – to share information on the benefits of pre-k and the law’s 2008 promise for state-funded pre-k for the tens of thousands of 3- and 4-year-olds waiting every year.
Our community communication outreach continued in 2017-2018 as Pre-K Our Way’s targeted messaging and advertising effort, Campaign for Pre-K Expansion, moved statewide. The eight meetings (two each in November 2016, March and September 2017, March 2018), included attendees representing hundreds of communities and almost all of the 50,000 3- and 4-year-olds waiting every year for access to NJ’s high-quality, full-day, state-funded pre-k. Attendees participated from 19 different NJ counties and represented all 40 NJ legislative districts.
The state budget signed in July 2018 for FY2019 includes nearly $83 million in funding for pre-k expansion in the 2018-2019 school year. That funding reflected the raised priority of pre-k expansion – and support for NJ’s pre-k – throughout the 2017 gubernatorial campaign. Both Governor Murphy and the legislative leadership agree: pre-k expansion is a NJ priority! Pre-K Our Way continues to engage supporters in the effort to bring NJ’s pre-k to their communities.
Remember to sign up for email updates on our website—and follow us on Facebook or Twitter, as that’s where we’ll have additional announcements and updates! And always: check out our ads and materials. If you’d like Pre-K Our Way to present at your local council or school board meeting, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.