Governor Steve Bullock and Superintendent Denise Juneau today sent a letter to Montana’s federal lawmakers asking them to restore funding to the successful Preschool Development Grant program. Funding for the program would be eliminated under spending bills moving through Congress.

“The Preschool Development Grant is critical for our state to build, develop, and expand high-quality preschool programs so children from low-and moderate-income families have the opportunity enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and in life,” Bullock and Juneau said in the letter. “We urge you to stand with Montana’s earliest learners, their families and their teachers, and work to fully fund the Preschool Development Grants.”

Montana is one of 18 states that received preschool development grants to expand access to high-quality preschool programs. Studies have shown the benefits that high-quality early childhood education has on student success. Children who take part in high-quality early childhood education programs are:
·         More likely to read at grade level;
·         Less likely to repeat a grade or require special education;
·         More likely to earn a high school diploma; and
·         Less likely to become teenage parents, require public assistance, abuse drugs, or end up in jail.

In addition, these programs have been shown to help ensure that every child enters kindergarten ready to learn with appropriate social and behavioral habits that will allow teachers to focus on teaching rather than managing distractions.