As the Indiana General Assembly continues to debate expanding pre-k, we have earned the support of 150 Hoosier businesses, associations, community organizations and elected officials across the state!
In a public letter to legislators and the governor, the organizations called expanding pre-k a “top priority” for this session of the General Assembly, noting that “pre-k remains out of reach for thousands of young children.”
“This coalition demonstrates the depth of support that high-quality preschool has across the state,” said Ted Maple, President and CEO, Early Learning Indiana. “These organizations recognize the positive impact early learning opportunities have on our children, families, communities and economy. We hope our leaders in the Statehouse answer the call to grow the state’s pre-k offerings so that many more low-income children can benefit.”
Among those recently joining our efforts are the Indiana chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Indiana Federation of Teachers, the Indiana Economic Development Association, the Indiana Association of United Ways, IU Health, NIPSCO as well as dozens of other local businesses, community groups and mayors throughout the state. The United Way of Central Indiana and a coalition of corporate partners including Lilly, Cummins, PNC Bank, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and the Indy Chamber have led the lobbying effort to expand pre-k in the 2017 legislative session.
“There are more than 27,000 four-year-old children in Indiana who live in poverty and lack access to high-quality pre-k. With a significant investment by the General Assembly this year, thousands more children can be reached,” said Ann Murtlow, President and CEO, United Way of Central Indiana. “The time to act is now. If we move too incrementally or invest too modestly in pre-k expansion, we risk losing a generation of children — at a high price to our state.”
The public letter from our coalition members builds on statements of support for pre-k expansion from leading lawmakers and other statewide bodies, including the State Board of Education, the Bicentennial Visioning Project and the Governor-appointed Early Learning Advisory Committee, among others. Read the letter here.
Unable to make it to the All IN 4 Pre-K Advocacy Day at the Indiana Statehouse on January 25th? Your voice can still be heard! You can Call IN 4 Pre-K as you take 5 minutes and let your legislator know what pre-k means to you and your community!
Step 1: Find your local Senator and Representative who serve your district area:
Step 2: Write out what you’d like to tell them! Here are some examples:
- “Hello! My name is ******, and I live at *********. Senator/Representative ****** serves my district, and I would like for her/him to know that I am All IN 4 Pre-K! I know that Success Starts Early, and I am hoping that she/he supports expansion for Pre-K here in Indiana!”
- “Hello! My name is ******, and I live at *********. Senator/Representative ****** serves in my district, and I would like for her/him to know that I am All IN 4 Pre-K! Every Hoosier 4 year old should have access to high quality pre-k. My hope is that he/she supports this as well!”
You can also personalize your story! Here are some examples:
- “Hello! My name is ******, and I live at *********. Senator/Representative ****** serves in my district, and I would like for her/him to know that I am All IN 4 Pre-K! My child receives an On My Way Pre-K scholarship. Without it I wouldn’t have been able to afford early education for my 4-year-old, [your child’s name]. My hope is that pre-k expansion occurs for more children and families like mine!”
- “Hello! My name is ******, and I live at *********. Senator/Representative ****** serves in my district, and I would like for her/him to know that I am All IN 4 Pre-K! Right now, I can’t send my child to high quality pre-k due to the cost. I want Indiana to expand pre-k support so that this changes for me and for many Hoosier families like myself.”
Step three: Contact the legislature’s main lines to call and speak out!
- Indiana State Senate: (317) 232-9400
- Indiana House of Representatives: (317) 232-9600
****Important note: Please do not call your legislators’ individual contact number*****
Now is the time to schedule meetings with your legislators for the 2017 Pre-K Advocacy Statehouse Day on January 25th. While attending the Statehouse rally will have a great impact, nothing is more important than actually meeting face to face with your elected officials. Your most impactful moment of the entire day will be when you meet briefly with your legislator to tell them why pre-K expansion is so important to you. The first step in that process is contacting your legislator to set up a time to meet on the afternoon of January 25th!
Four Easy Steps to Schedule a Meeting with Your Legislator:
- Go to https://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/, type in your address and zip code, and click on your Senator and Representative websites.
- Click on your Senator and Representative’s caucus page to find direct contact information, listing the Legislative Assistant name, lawmaker’s email and contact number.
- Call and email the Legislative Assistant to schedule a meeting. Not sure about what to say? Here's a simple script to follow:
“My name is ****** I reside at ***** and I will be in Indianapolis on Wednesday, January 25th for the All IN 4 Pre-K Advocacy Day at the Indiana Statehouse. I would like to schedule a meeting with Senator ****/Representative ***** between 2-5pm that day.”
- Once you have called/emailed and scheduled a meeting with your legislator, fill out this quick survey so we can make sure you receive a packet for the legislator.
What comes next? Read below to learn about our plans for preparing everyone for a great legislator meeting!Read more
Early this morning, Ted Maple, President and CEO of Early Learning Indiana, responded to Governor Holcomb’s recent announcement regarding pre-k funding in the 2017 General Assembly session. The following is his statement.
Early Learning Indiana and our partners in the All IN 4 Pre-K movement are pleased that Governor-Elect Holcomb and leadership in the General Assembly are considering expanding access to pre-k for young Hoosiers.
Our leaders must be prudent in how they invest our taxpayer dollars. And, Hoosiers across the state are telling us they want to go big in support of pre-k. Seven in 10 Indiana voters support investing $50 million a year in pre-k to ensure Hoosier children are better prepared for school.
Pre-k may focus on our littlest learners, but it gets big results, and our state’s commitment to it should match.
Parents, teachers, business leaders, and concerned citizens from all over the state—from Evansville to Elkhart—are calling for Indiana to be “all in” for pre-k.
Most importantly, 27,000 children in low-income families are currently at-risk for school failure if we do not act this year.
We urge our state’s leadership to make our children a top priority as they finalize their plans for bringing pre-k to more Hoosier communities.
You are invited to be a critical part of Pop-IN to Pre-K—a week-long celebration of Indiana’s high-quality pre-k programs, Paths to QUALITY™ system and Indiana children and families. [Please note: sign ups for this opportunity are now closed.]
Pop-IN to Pre-K will be held the whole week of Monday, December 12 - Friday December 16.
All pre-k programs are invited to participate—schools, ministries, centers, Head Starts and family child care.
The timing for this week of celebration is critical! In January of next year, Indiana’s new Governor and state lawmakers will be deciding whether or not to expand pre-k scholarships in our state.
Pop-IN to Pre-K is an opportunity for YOU and your great program to be engaged, simply by opening your doors, inviting in your local community and showcasing the great work you do with children and families. After all, we know that seeing is believing!
Participating programs will get a goodie-bag including:
- A Pop-IN / All IN 4 Pre-K sign
- All IN 4 Pre-K buttons
- Simple prompts for social media use, including the hashtag: #SuccessStartsHere
- Postcards of support for pre-k expansion to use with your families
- Guidance and support with community and lawmaker outreach and engagement
We will also promote your participation in a statewide ad and through a targeted social media effort.
Sign ups for this opportunity are now closed. If you have questions contact Jessica Millen at email@example.com.
As the 2017 legislative session approaches, pre-k is a priority issue for our new Governor and state lawmakers and a recent study articulates one reason why. The study, The Economic Impacts of Investing in Early Childhood Education in Indiana, undertaken by Indiana University researchers and commissioned by United Way of Central Indiana, revealed that “implementing a high-quality, state-funded early childhood education program in Indiana will yield an anticipated benefit of $3.83 to $4 per dollar invested.”
How did they arrive at this number? By looking at returns in two key areas, namely, reductions in special education spending and Kindergarten retention and remediation. In brief, they found that pre-k saves money in the short-term, by preventing challenges in elementary school. They also found modest, but meaningful benefits in the long-term, including from improvements in average life-time earnings.
It’s no wonder that business leaders all across the state have been championing pre-k expansion. They get that a $4 to $1 return on investment—meaning that every taxpayer dollar invested will yield at least $4 in benefits—is a great business decision for our state.
All IN 4 Pre-K is proud to be working with Indiana business and community leaders to organize pre-k events in key parts of the state in December. These Success Starts Early breakfasts will share how investing in pre-k means less spent on special education and Kindergarten retention—the latter of which costs our state over $30 million a year. And how pre-k helps parents keep jobs, find work and go back to school.
We hope you can join us at one of these events co-hosted with the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce, St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. RSVP here!
We are thrilled that the four-fold return of pre-k investment will be shared at these breakfasts, but we also need people like you to share this meaningful number. Please take a minute to share our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts to spread this good news!
There are so many reasons to support pre-k expansion, from the benefits to our children and helping low-income families climb out of poverty to the returns for taxpayers and savings for our school systems. We hope this campaign helps you connect with your reason for being “all IN” for our youngest learners.
On Friday, August 12, we officially launched the All IN 4 Pre-K campaign! United Way of Central Indiana President and CEO Ann D. Murtlow, Eli Lilly and Company Chairman, President and CEO John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Early Learning Indiana President and CEO Ted Maple, and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett held a joint press conference highlighting investments already made and the ongoing demand for high-quality pre-k in Indiana.
“Lilly and other corporate leaders know that a thriving community depends on a high-quality education system, which starts with access to excellent early learning opportunities,” Lechleiter said. “Quality pre-k leads to stronger academic outcomes for students, which helps build a robust pipeline of talent to fuel the future workforce. That’s why we and other businesses stepped up to successfully raise $10 million for the Indianapolis pre-k program and why we’re advocating for pre-k expansion at the state level.”
“We need to ensure more Hoosier children – especially students from low-income families who stand to benefit most – can access high-quality pre-k so they start kindergarten ready to succeed,” Murtlow said. “Research shows us that dramatic brain development takes place in a child’s first five years of life, and the strong academic foundation provided by pre-k leads to positive academic and life outcomes. This has a ripple effect on communities and the state. That’s why we are advocating for expansion and see urgency to act.”
“We’ve seen the power of pre-k for Indianapolis students through our city’s scholarship program, yet we’ve also seen too many families turned away because there’s simply not enough money to build capacity and provide scholarships,” Mayor Hogsett said. “It is time to close this gap and help better meet the needs of families not just in our city, but across our state. It’s encouraging to see a broad group of parents, educators, business leaders and bipartisan elected officials joining to champion pre-k expansion in 2017.”
“Indiana has grown the number of high-quality pre-k providers in recent years, and as we expand pre-k, we will, first and foremost, focus on growing in a way that upholds high-quality for all students,” Maple said. “Indiana is ready for expansion. With our state on strong financial footing, we have a rare window of opportunity to make an investment in our children and an important statement about the future of our state in the upcoming budget session.”
Today in the Indianapolis Star, Matt Tully made the case for greater investment in pre-k in Indiana. He also shared information about All IN 4 Pre-K and the work that people like you are doing to ensure that Hoosier children start kindergarten ready to succeed.
He also previewed our brand new report, Success Starts Early: Indiana's Roadmap for Pre-K Expansion. This roadmap represents the voices of practitioners, experts and families and details what is needed to increase opportunities for more children.
"The campaign’s message is that the legislature must look more seriously at the long-term consequences and costs of inaction as well as the return on taxpayer investments that study after study has tied to preschool funding. It should ensure than many more families on the low end of the income scale have access to the type of early learning programs that give children a better chance at success. It must rethink what an education looks like in the 21st Century, and realize that the earliest experiences in a child’s life often have the most profound and lasting consequences."
Tully later quotes Ted Maple, President and CEO of Early Learning Indiana, making the case for pre-k expansion: "The research is clear, this is something that should be available to all children.”
The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne discusses why there's no need to wait for more research before expanding Pre-K. From the July 10 article:
More than 500 researchers signed on to a letter by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey:
“Critics of greater investment ignore the full body of evidence,” according to the letter. “Critics often cite data out of context, cherry-picking findings that highlight minimal effects within the larger findings of overall benefits. They claim the need to wait for larger-scale studies over many years to prove long-term effectiveness, knowing full well that such experiments are not possible without significant government investment and decades of research. Existing research findings are sufficient to warrant greater investment in quality programs now.”
Read more on why the best time to invest in Pre-K is now.
On Thursday, June 2, Indiana Governor Mike Pence sent a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services administration. In the letter, he praised the current On My Pre-K pilot and began to explore further investment in the program. From the IndyStar article on the development:
In a letter Thursday to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Pence expressed interest in expanding the state's $10-million-a-year preschool pilot program with the help of the federal grant program.
“Because of the success of our first-ever, state-funded pre-K pilot program, I am committed to opening doors of opportunity to serve even more disadvantaged children in our state,” Pence said in an emailed statement about the letter. “Since the On My Way Pre-K pilot program has come online, we’ve served 2,300 kids in the five pilot project counties. I am committed to growing this program using state and available federal resources.”
Read more on Pence's position -- as well as other perspectives from other Hoosier leaders -- at the Indy Star.