CHARLESTON, W.Va., March 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's move this week to slash programs that help struggling children succeed in school is extremely short-sighted, Save the Children said today. Just this February, PBS aired Nicholas Kristof's documentary A Path Appears, which made the national case for increased investment in early education by highlighting the success of Save the Children's programs in rural West Virginia. Now, these same programs are at risk.
"These cuts are devastatingly short-sighted. The governor is cutting programs we know help struggling children succeed in school," said Anna Hardway, state director of Save the Children's U.S. Programs. "These children are the future of our state. If we stop investing in them and deny them the chance to reach their potential, we all lose. This will definitely impact the number of children we can serve in West Virginia."
The cuts came Tuesday, part of the Governor's almost $11 million in cuts to the state budget bill before he signed it. Save the Children lost $375,000 in funding designated for early education and literacy programs in Cabell, Calhoun, Mason and Roane Counties.
Hardway added, "At a time when Governor Tomblin has publically stressed early childhood education, we are very disappointed with his decision to cut children's programs again. Studies have shown that investing $1 in early education now returns $7 later through increased productivity and savings in public assistance and criminal justice. Aren't our children and the future of our state worth that kind of investment?"
Save the Children's early education programs in West Virginia consistently show strong results. Despite poverty and multiple risk factors they face, 88 percent of 3-year-olds in the program score at or above the national average on pre-literacy tests. Save the Children's elementary-school-based literacy programs also help children make significant gains – equivalent to what they'd learn in five additional months of schooling each year.
"There are mountains of research showing that whether a child is reading at grade level by 3rd grade determines the whole course of their future. Our literacy programs are designed to get kids on track so they are equipped to succeed in school, graduate and go on to become productive members of society, " Hardway said. "Fewer kids in West Virginia will have that chance now."
Save the Children currently partners with eight communities in five counties of West Virginia, serving 2,952 children through early childhood education, literacy and health programs.
Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Media Contact: Wendy Christian
SOURCE Save the Children