City, school leaders announce initiative for high-quality preschool education in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - City and school leaders announced a new initiative on Tuesday to provide high-quality preschool for every child in the Queen City.

On Tuesday, local leaders announced their pledge to create what's called a "Cincinnati Preschool Promise." The pledge, which people can sign online , is an agreement to finance quality preschool for Cincinnati children. The pledge asks supporters to "work with others to identify the best possible [preschool] program, and to help secure the resources necessary to get it done."

"Our children come to us with different sets of experiences, vocabularies, different resources, different home lives and we know in our hearts and with common sense that the earlier we provide them with high quality developmental experiences, the better," said President of the Cincinnati Board of Education Eileen Cooper Reed.

Organizers say early childhood education is extremely important the city, region and country.

"Local data from Cincinnati Public School preschool and quality-rated child care centers consistently show positive effects on kindergarten readiness and third-grade reading, both significant predictors of future success in school and in life," it says on the the Cincinnati Preschool Promise website. "For these reasons, business and community leaders around Greater Cincinnati, along with Ohio Governor John Kasich and President Barack Obama, are coming together to support quality early childhood education."

The website cites research by the University of Chicago economist James J. Heckman , which showed that a quality preschool education leads to a 7 to 10 percent annual return on investment.

"This effort will open up for all children the promise not just of preschool, but of the American promise for success," Cincinnati's Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls said.

Tuesday's meeting took place at 9:30 a.m. at Riverview East Academy, 3555 Kellogg Ave. A list of speakers talked about the importance of quality preschool. The speakers included:

  • Stephanie Byrd, executive director, Success By 6
  • Patrick Lafley, Leadership Cincinnati Class 36
  • Roxanne Qualls, vice mayor, City of Cincinnati
  • Laure Quinlivan, council member, City of Cincinnati
  • Eileen Cooper Reed, president, Cincinnati Board of Education
  • Mary Ronan, superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Brian Tome, senior pastor, Crossroads Church

For more information about the Cincinnati Preschool Promise, go to http://www.4cforchildren.org/promise/ .

 

9 On Your Side Photographer Dwayne Slavey contributed to this report.

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