Governor Steve Bullock today highlighted the benefits of early childhood education and encouraged lawmakers to support his preschool grant program proposal during a visit at the Head Start in Butte.
“We have no greater responsibility than ensuring that the next generation of Montanans has all the opportunities to succeed that we had growing up here, and even more” said Governor Bullock. “It’s past time lawmakers in Helena support our young kids.”
Governor Bullock has introduced his $12 million preschool grant program proposal, House Bill 563, to the Montana Legislature. Sponsored by Representative Kathy Kelker, the proposal, would allow school districts, Head Start programs, and high-quality private preschool providers to offer preschool for four-year-old kids at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The bill has its first hearing on Monday.
Children who take part in high-quality early childhood education programs are:
- More likely to read at grade level;
- Less likely to repeat a grade or require special education;
- More likely to earn a high school diploma;
- Less likely to become teenage parents, require public assistance, abuse drugs, or end up in jail.
Every $1 spent on high-quality preschool programs creates at least $7 in future savings to the communities and states that invest.
Governor Bullock asked teachers and parents at the Head Start in Butte to contact their legislators and encourage them to support publicly funded early childhood education in Montana.
“This is an investment we can’t afford not to make,” Governor Bullock said. “I’ll be holding the Montana Legislature accountable to wisely investing in a strong future for our state – and I hope you’ll join me in doing the same.”
Montana is currently one of only six states without a publicly funded pre-kindergarten option for four-year-olds.