Philly residents were astounded at the latest numbers of children and families being served by the city’s quality early childhood education program. This was revealed in the latest “PHLpreK by the Numbers” report released by Mayor Kenney’s office on February 18.
The PHLpreK program is funded by the “Soda Tax,” courageously initiated by the Mayor, and approved by the City Council. That unique legislation does make it more expensive and less convenient for some Southwest residents to buy sugared drinks. But the good it does far outweighs those negatives:
– Reducing sugar consumption fights the dangerous overweight condition of minority children (about 40 percent), and many inner-city parents (about 70 percent of women).1 Reducing sugar intake also helps control obesity-related diseases like diabetes, heart problems, and joint ailments.
– The Soda Tax generates vital amounts of money to improve our libraries and recreation centers – reducing violence and promoting literacy and healthy exercise.
– The Rebuild program which provides young inner-city youth with a chance to learn trades and enter apprentice positions for high wage union jobs is also funded by Soda Tax dollars.
– The PHLpreK numbers are sensational: Soda Tax helps fund enrolment in quality PreK daycare centers for about 3000 children. That quality PreK education helps start kids at grade level in reading and math when they enter kindergarten. That advantage lasts throughout every year of their K-12 and college schooling and leads to more productive, happy and safe adult lives.2
– The PHLpreK program has promoted improved teaching skills in 138 Pre-K locations in the city, most of which have qualified for higher state “STAR” ratings. More than 85 percent of PreK staff in PHLpreK classrooms participate in continuing education and professional development!
– More than 93 percent of parents and caregivers are satisfied with the PHLpreK enrollment process and the quality of the teachers and report that kids are better prepared for kindergarten.
The full PHLpreK By the Numbers report for the 2019-2020 school year should be available online shortly.