New Jersey’s existing pre-k program for 3- and 4-year-old children is a national model for both quality and proven educational results. The problem: this program is only available in 35 school districts. In 2008, the Legislature recognized that expansion of pre-k programs to more districts was an important priority for our children. As the discussion grows about the funding method for public education, the question should not be ending the high-quality pre-k programs, but how to expand them to reach more New Jersey children. Read more below.
Testimonies included are those of Brian Maher, Cecilia Zalkind of Advocates for Children of New Jersey and Lynda Anderson-Towns, recently retired Superintendent and Principal of the Woodbine School District in Cape May County. Additional testimony came from Ruth Lopez Piatt, a Vineland private-provider of New Jersey’s high-quality preschool program and Pre-K Our Way panelist and supporter; Steven Barnett, Ph.D. from National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University; Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic and Kindergarten Teacher Randee Mandelbaum from Freehold Boro; Janellen Duffy from Pre-K Our Way Advocate organization JerseyCAN; Chief of Police James Abbott representing West Orange and Fight Crime: Invest in Kids; and other advocates in support of pre-k. Additionally, Pre-K Our Way’s advocate organization and United Way Alliance member United Way of Northern New Jersey provided testimony.