DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A new report by the Education Commission of the States finds Ohio isn’t investing nearly as much as other states into public, early childhood education.
It shows states similar in size are out-spending the Buckeye State by millions of dollars.
State data details that Ohio will spend about $60 million on Pre-K education this year. That’s compared to places like Georgia spending $321 million or North Carolina with $114 million for 2016.
Kettering Senator Peggy Lehner (R) tells 2 NEWS the state’s education committee, which she chairs, is already tackling funding and has big plans for the next few years.
The Ohio Senator says that the recent report does not reflect recent spending bills passed.
In the last three years, she says state lawmakers have added at least $110 billion dollars towards public pre-school education.
Senator Lehner says, still, until she’s able to secure funding for all kids who are eligible for education she won’t be satisfied.
Her latest goal is to reach families that are considered to be low income and to teach them the importance of making sure their young kids are learning at an early age.
“I think it’s something like 50 percent of the children who are tested on the– for the kindergarten readiness test in the City of Dayton don’t know their last name and they can’t count to 10 and they don’t know their colors. They can’t tell red from blue. These are all skills that more affluent kids tend to know and if you’re starting kindergarten together, who’s going to do better,” she questioned?
The senator says other cities in Montgomery County face those same challenges.
Her goal is to even the playing field by making sure kids are caught up and ready for Kindergarten.
To do that, she says there must be the funding and attention toward public preschool programs and education.