By: Gabrielle Mills, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY — The East Coast was one of the first areas to be industrialized in the United States, New Jersey chief among them. With industrial cities such as Paterson becoming known as the “Silk City” rapid growth meant more working people, and eventually more working mothers.
Though women in minority demographics worked as domestic servants, cooks and nannies, the number of working women grew exponentially after the industrial revolution. As more women were moving out of the home and into textile factories this meant an increased need for childcare.
Over time, kindergartens and preschools began popping up all over the east coast and New Jersey. The first publicly funded option was initiated by President Linden Johnson in 1965. Now that initial COVID-19 quarantines are over and more parents are headed back to work, New Jersey is once again at an increased need for childcare. Governor Murphy plans to address this need by allocating 40 million dollars to expand “high quality preschools.”
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) defines a high-quality preschool as “a full- day program with a certificated teacher, an aide, and small classes that are inclusive of children with special needs who have an individualized education program.”
Previously, to apply for funds like these, districts had to meet certain requirements. One such requirement stated, “20 percent of their students are from lower-income families”. However, the governor’s office is expanding the allocation to accommodate more districts to include those with “10 percent of students who meet the income eligibility standards.” This increases access for districts that would have otherwise gone without the funds.
This move also opens the funding up to wealthier districts which may or may not need the supplemental funding. However, according to the NJDOE, “Governor Murphy’s Fiscal 2023 budget includes an additional $68 million for state-funded preschool, for a total of $991.8 million in preschool aid. The remaining $27.6 million will help those districts that have already implemented a high-quality preschool add additional seats to serve more children.”
When put to use, the allocation can aid working parents in finding affordable daycare and ultimately, help the children of New Jersey.
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