Education

Pittsburgh Councilwoman Rudiak proposes pre-K task force

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak

In an effort to make high-quality, affordable early childhood education accessible to more families, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak (District 4), the Peduto Administration and education stakeholders held a press conference Thursday outlining the findings of the study, Pre-K in Pittsburgh: A Call for Action

According to the report, an estimated 1,500 children in Pittsburgh are without access to full-day, high-quality, inclusive Pre-K programming, Rudiak said. Authored in partnership with the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and One Pennsylvania, the study shows the actual impact the lack of early childhood education has on the city’s youngest residents. 

“The report confirms a lot of what we suspected but did not previously have the statistics to back,” said Rudiak.  

According to the report, only 16 percent of center-based programs in Pittsburgh are considered of high quality by the statewide rating system Keystone STARS, which gives child care programs one to four stars based on factors such as staff education, learning environment, leadership management, and family and community partnerships. 

The report also shows that due to high costs and lack of availability, many low- and moderate-income families have no choice but to attend pre-K programs that do not meet high-quality standards. 

“We know that over one-third of Pittsburgh children live below the federal poverty line and a child’s readiness for kindergarten is impacted by how comprehensive means are met and addressed,” Rudiak stated.

The report shows Pittsburgh Public Schools lagging behind in investing in early childhood education programs, spending only $9,220 per child annually, as opposed to the report's estimated $10,000 to $15,372 per child needed annually. 

She added that investing $5 million annually "can serve 500 children; with $10 million, we can expand service to 1,000 children; and with $15 million, we can expand service to 1,500 children." 

Acknowledging that Pennsylvania’s current level of pre-K funding is already stretched thin, the councilwoman, hoping to piggyback off of efforts made by cities like Philadelphia and Cleveland, will be introducing legislation next week to put together a plan to fund and provide more opportunities for early childhood education. 

“We need to know: How are we going to raise the money to do this? Which neighborhoods have the most need? How are we going to expand the system to create additional slots [for enrollment],” she asked rhetorically. “All of these questions need answers and we plan to answer them with this legislation.” 

The legislation calls for a 15-member task force, comprised of representatives from various education stakeholders, to look for a funding mechanism to expand the services of early childhood education in the city, and to implement some of the recommendations made by the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Early Childhood Education, which was established in 2014 to help secure a federal grant for preschool education in the city. 

“One of the questions we are going to be struggling with is, whose responsibility is it to fund early childhood care?” said Erin Kramer, executive director of One Pennsylvania. “Is that solely the responsibility of the parent, or is that a collective responsibility? We can do a lot at the city level, but a lot of us will be focusing on state and federal funding solutions, as well.” 

The legislation will be introduced before Pittsburgh City Council on Feb. 28 and could be voted on in committee as early as March 1.

Alanna Koll is the Pittsburgh bureau chief for The PLS Reporter, a non-partisan, online news site devoted to covering Pennsylvania government. 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.