Readers Respond

Monday, July 3, 2006

Letters to the Pilot


To the Editor,

The 2006 legislature approved and Governor Tom Vilsack signed an additional $15 million to address health, parent education and preschool needs for our youngest Iowans.

This investment will certainly help build a strong foundation for our children's future, but to get the most out of our growing public investments in early learning, we must also align standards, curriculum, and assessment

from prekindergarten through kindergarten, and into the early elementary grades. That's the PK-3 approach.

The PK-3 approach involves providing voluntary, quality prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-old children and access to all-day kindergarten that builds on the prekindergarten experience. The curriculum focuses on social skills and self-discipline as well as reading and math and emphasizes a

collaborative effort between families and teachers...These educational advancements translate into significant societal gains.

Schools and preschools must coordinate funding streams to make more efficient use of public resources for early and elementary education. The investment in early education programs has a potential to return $7 in

savings for every dollar spent by reducing costly grade retention, special education placements, teen birthrates, crime and incarceration.

The legislature's and the governor's commitment to ensuring children are

successful in school and in life is commendable...These programs enable

children to reach their full potential. The key is to build a bridge between prekindergarten and the K-12 system. Let's hope this year's investment is just the beginning.

- Lou Ann DeMarie, Project Director, Communities for Literate Iowa Kids