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News Link • Education: Government Schools

Assessing Proposals for Preschool and Kindergarten

• Darcy Olsen & Lisa Snell 5-1-2006 ReasonFoundation
Executive Summary

Proposals for universal preschool and all-day kindergarten are an increasingly popular policy solution for everything from low academic achievement, to reducing crime, to lowering the dropout rate. In summer 2005, a national task force co-chaired by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano called for $8 billion annually in federal support for preschool. Similarly, in his 2006 response to President Bush’s State of the Union Speech, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine acknowledged universal preschool as a silver bullet to help create a better future for the United States. Kaine said, “There’s a Better way… Many states are working to make high quality Pre-Kindergarten accessible to every family.”

States are moving quickly to expand access to state-run preschool. According to Libby Doggett, Pre-K Now’s executive director, states cumulatively have committed more than $14 billion to early education. Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia are all considering various models of universal preschool, and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently announced plans to make Illinois the first state in the nation to offer universal preschool to both three-and four-year-olds. California has a universal preschool initiative on the June 2006 ballot. Nationwide, at least 40 states provide state funding for preschool programs, and at least 28 considered legislation to expand state-funded preschool programs in 2005. Three states—Georgia, Oklahoma, and Florida—offer universal preschool.

Monday, Jul. 19, 2010 11:11 am

Feature Article  •  Global Edition
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