Swati Adarkar was interviewed by KOIN6 news yesterday about Governor Brown’s budget proposals for the 2019 legislative session.
Another part of the proposal, which would address kindergarten readiness, was applauded by Children’s Institute president Swati Adarkar. Between the recommended budget and the additional investment, Brown said she would want to spend $285 million expanding access to preschool for 10,000 low-income children.
“We know if kids are coming to kindergarten behind, that we’re not closing those gaps. There’s an urgency about reaching those kids now, but we know we can’t get there in one legislative session,” Adarkar said, explaining that there are 30,000 children in the state who are not currently enrolled in and could benefit from high-quality preschool.
Governor Brown released her budget on Wednesday that focuses on “repairing and reforming” Oregon’s education system. It includes $2 billion in new investments needed to support early childhood through higher education but is not tied to specific revenue. Our key 0–5 early childhood priorities are included in this new investment package. It includes increased investments in both state preschool programs, Oregon Pre-kindergarten and Preschool Promise, in addition to other critical services such as Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education, the Early Childhood Equity Fund, and workforce supports.
We are excited for potential new investments, but the need is urgent. The health, safety, and education of our youngest children cannot wait.
We know high-quality early care and education programs and services keep kids healthy and safe and encourage their natural love of learning. Young children in Oregon who face the biggest systemic barriers to opportunity—children from low-income families, children of color, dual language learners, disabled children, and those living in rural areas—overwhelmingly don’t have access to these proven programs and services.