Op-Ed | September 22, 2016

Olympian Bruce Baumgartner on the Importance of Pre-K

The two-time Olympic wrestling champion argues that access to quality pre-K is necessary for all children in Pennsylvania

Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Baumgartner forcefully argued for greater investment in quality pre-K in an op-ed appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In “The Academic Medal Count,” the freestyle wrestling champion noted that while American athletes may dominate the Olympics, American students trail many other industrialized nations when it comes to math and reading scores. Baumgartner presented a lengthy list of examples in which high-quality pre-K had improved the lives and education of American children in cities around the country.

Baumgartner pointed to investments in quality pre-K as a way of not only increasing the United States’ international academic standing, but also as a method for closing the “achievement gap” that plagues lower-income students as they lag behind their higher-income peers.

NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris was so struck by Baumgartner’s piece that he wrote a letter of support reiterating and expanding upon many of Baumgartner’s points. The letter, “Let’s Support Efforts to Level the Academic Playing Field,” ran in the Post-Gazette September 22nd.

Baumgartner’s op-ed also appeared in the Erie Times in a version entitled “Training to Win Academic Medal Count Starts in pre-K,” which was the featured guest viewpoint in the Sunday, September 18th edition of the newspaper.

In Pennsylvania, nearly 70% of 3- and 4-year-olds in lower-income households lack access to quality publicly funded early-childhood programs. This represents missed opportunities for 120,000 young children annually.

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  1. Early Learning
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