letter from marci
In September 2001, Pew launched a 10-year initiative – combining research, communications and advocacy – with the goal of significantly increasing state investments in high-quality pre-k programs for three and four year olds. As part of that effort, we engaged parents, teachers, and allies in an online advocacy strategy called NoSchoolForSam.org.
Since 2008, NoSchoolForSam advocates have taken more than 107,000 actions and sent over 185,000 letters to decision-makers in support of pre-kindergarten education. Thousands of advocates like you joined the movement each year to make early education reform one of our lawmakers’ top priorities.
As a result, a record number of American children and their families have access to quality, state-funded pre-k programs – thanks, in part, to the thousands of messages sent to Congress calling for support of high-quality pre-kindergarten.
Thank you for your years of support and invaluable work in the pre-k movement. Together, we’ve made tremendous progress toward ensuring that every young child receives the life-long benefits of high-quality pre-k.
With enormous gratitude,
Project Director, Pre-K Now
no school for sam successes
Together, we moved the needle for children by expanding access to and improving the quality of early learning for children. Campaign milestones include:
• State funding for pre-k more than doubled nationwide to $5.1 billion in FY2012.
• Pre-k access increased from just 700,000 children in 2001 to more than one million kids in 2011.
• Six states – Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Vermont and West Virginia – and the District of Columbia opened their programs to all four year olds, bringing the total number of pre-k-for-all states to nine plus DC.
• Three of the 13 states that offered no pre-k in 2001 –Alaska, Florida and Rhode Island – created new programs.
• Seven states created new pre-k programs to supplement, expand and improve their existing services.
• The number of states with at least one program meeting eight or more of 10 established benchmarks for pre-k quality rose from five.
For several years, Pre-K Now has worked to ensure that our national public education policy includes high-quality pre-k. Working with education organizations, state advocates, and using the NoSchoolforSam advocacy list of over 65,000 members, we were able to embed pre-k into several major pieces of federal education policy and set the stage for a Pre-K-12 public education system. More than thirty bills that include pre-k have been introduced over the past three years, including a draft of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which aims to fund, improve or increase access to pre-k programs. Amid all the legislative activity, we’ve had some big wins:
• In 2011, the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge was created by Congress and pushed by the Obama administration as a mechanism to improve early childhood programs.
• Secretary Arne Duncan created an Office for Early Learning within the U.S. Department of Education, which will elevate the importance of pre-k and make early education a true national priority.
there's still work to be done
Although the Pre-K Now
campaign is ending, there is still work to be done. Ten years of smart state
investments have brought early learning to more than a million children
nationwide, but far too few are getting high-quality pre-k. Creating a new
system built upon quality pre-k will mean incorporating early learning into the
way we think, teach, practice, advocate and talk about children and about
It will also mean investments in quality improvements and the
creation of meaningful family engagement strategies as a vital component of
pre-kindergarten quality. When pre-k programs involve family members and other
caregivers in their children’s education, they help build a lifelong
partnership that fosters children’s school and life success, leads to more
effective parenting and supports higher performance in our nation’s schools.
By lending your voice to our
campaign, hundreds of “Sams” now have access to a high-quality pre-kindergarten
experience. To continue to stay involved in children’s issues, we encourage you
to follow the work of the First Five
The organization is doing excellent advocacy work connecting
birth to five policy to the education system, particularly around the ESEA.
They are a go-to organization for the latest advocacy updates.
additonal early childhood resources
• The Pre-K Coalition
(led by the National School Boards Association) — A collaboration among the nation's most influential education groups to develop common principles for pre-k policy within federal legislation and build national awareness about the importance of pre-k. The Pre-K Coalition will continue to have a Web presence and NSBA's Center for Public Education
will also house pre-k related information.
• The Pew Home Visiting Campaign
— A children's campaign within the Pew Center on the States that promotes and advances smart state and federal policies and investments in high-quality, home-based programs for new and expectant families. Sign up to receive their monthly newsletter
and bi-monthly newsclips
In the videos below, education luminaries
celebrate pre-k policy milestones and discuss why it’s necessary to re-imagine
public education as a Pre-K-12 system.
United StatesSecretary of Education Arne Duncan
Harlem Children's Zone President and CEO Geoffrey Canada
Teach for America Founder and CEO Wendy Kopp
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten