Thew White House today released some additional details on President Obama’s plan—announced during his State of the Union— to provide “high-quality” pre-school to every child.
The Obama administration wants to work with the states to expand pre-K. And Gov. Cuomo has recently endorsed an expansion of pre-K for needy students in underprivileged districts. So it will be really interesting to see if the federal initiative will help Cuomo pursue his goals for New York.
- Providing high-quality preschool for every child: For America to succeed in the 21st century, we must have the most dynamic, educated workforce in the world, and that education has to start early in life. Every dollar invested in early learning and development programs saves about $7 down the road in higher earnings that yield more revenue, and lower government spending on social services and crime prevention. The President is presenting a plan to provide access to preschool for every child, while also incentivizing states to expand access to full-day kindergarten.
- The President’s proposal will improve quality and expand access to preschool, through a partnership with all 50 states, to extend federal funds to expand high-quality public preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income four-year olds from families at or below 200% of poverty. The U.S. Department of Education will allocate funding to states based on their share of low- and moderate-income four-year olds, and distribute funds to local school districts and other partner providers to implement the program. The proposal would include an incentive for states to broaden participation in their public preschool program for additional middle-class families.
- Funds will support states as they ensure that children are enrolled in high-quality programs. In order to access federal funding, states would be required to meet quality benchmarks that are linked to better outcomes for children, which include:
- state-level standards for early learning;
- qualified teachers for all preschool classrooms; and
- a plan to implement comprehensive data and assessment systems.
- Preschool programs across the states would meet common and consistent standardsfor quality across all programs, including:
- well-trained teachers, who are paid comparably to K-12 staff;
- small class sizes and low adult-to-child ratios;
- comprehensive health and related services; and
- effective evaluation and review of programs.
“President Obama’s pre-K plan would be particularly helpful to those children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who may not be able to access pre-K school opportunities that other families can.
“We know through brain research that early stimulation is important for brain development and future academic success. Language development research shows children from professional families have three times more vocabulary (words) than children from families on public assistance.
“Overall, the president’s proposal is an excellent step towards closing the class gap and will help children in impoverished socio-economic environments.”