Boston Announces Funding for Free Universal Pre-K
Boston, MA– Mayor Walsh has announced a $15 million plan to establish the "Quality Pre-K Fund" which will guarantee access to free pre-kindergarten (pre-K) for all 4-year-olds living in Boston within the next five years. This announcement was made outside ABCD Grove Head Start, a Dorchester-based community center that offers preschool services.
Walsh believes this program is essential for leveling the playing field from a young age: "There is no better investment we can make than providing our children with high-quality learning opportunities from an early age," said Mayor Walsh. "We have set a strong foundation over the last several years to offer more high-quality pre-K seats than ever before. I am incredibly proud that the Quality Pre-K Fund will fulfill our commitment of ensuring that every 4-year-old in Boston has access to high-quality pre-kindergarten in a setting that works best for their individual needs."
The fund established by the Mayor will provide 750 "high-quality" seats for Boston children in preschools. In this announcement, the city made a clear point that "high-quality" preschools are essential to this program. By that they mean programs that are nationally recognized and reputable. This means all pre-K teachers in these programs have degrees in early childhood education, children are taught the Focus on K1 Curriculum and Building Blocks Curriculum, and there is student teacher ratio of 2:20.
"The Boston Public Schools early childhood educators are pioneering what pre-kindergarten can and should look like nationwide," said BPS Interim Superintendent Laura Perille.
Another Massachusetts resident recently made headlines for a similar but far more ambitious plan. 2020 presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) rolled out an affordable child care proposal of her own. In Warren's plan, a tax on multimillionaires would help subsidize the rising cost in child care across the country. The subsidies would be based on your income: if you earn more, you'd receive a lower subsidy (or none at all) and if you earn less, you'd receive a higher subsidy to help you pay for child care costs.
Massachusetts is now at the forefront of the country's discussion around universal child care, which is makes sense for a state that prides itself on the quality of its education system.