Study Reports a Slowing in Pennsylvania School Readiness

 The most recent  School Readiness report from Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children paints a cautious picture of future academic success for students in the Commonwealth.  The report examines several family and community level variables including access to medical care, early learning /pre-K programs, and family income – all critical in preparing a young child for entry into school at age six, and often predictors for future success.
In Pennsylvania as a whole:
  • The percentage of children under the age of 4 lacking health insurance (5 percent) had little to no change from the 2011 report, although the amount of children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) declined by over 40,000
  • The amount of young children receiving early intervention services and quality child care increased, both by approximately 6 percent,  however, Head Start and other public pre-K programs served fewer children than the year prior
  • About 38 percent of children under the age of 5 live in low-income families
  • 16.5 percent of children ages 4 and under attend publicly funded pre-K, down from 17.6 percent in the 2011 report
  • Child abuse and neglect reports and substantiations for children under 5 years old decreased

Only time will tell if the sluggish trend in critical school readiness factors will continue, or what (if any) the eventual impact will be on the Pennsylvania children just beginning their educations.  Hopefully, accommodations can be made to maintain these programs as research has found demonstrable cognitive benefits of daycare and pre-K.  Even when factors related to a child’s emotional and social development offset some gains, typically, the overall impact is not diminished.

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