Obama Preschool Plan Gets Mixed Reactions
President Barack Obama’s plan to give free, high quality preschool education across the nation is getting mixed reaction. People praised it for helping poor kids but there are questions about expanding entitlements and the success of similar programs.
President Obama laid out the plan during his State of the Union address last week. He argued that the nation must start preparing its citizens for the new, high-tech economy at the earliest possible age. He added that study after study showed that the sooner a child starts learning, the better he or she does in the long run.
The president argued most middle class parents can’t afford a few hundred dollars per week for private preschool and those children could be at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives because of not having access to such education.
During a visit of a preschool in Decatur, Georgia, President Obama gave more details about his plan. He said that the federal government would match money spent by states to make high-quality preschool programs for 4 year olds from low and moderate income families.
The president’s plan would give extra federal money to states that expand their public preschool programs to middle class families that would pay tuition on a sliding scale. The cost of the program is still unclear and the president argued that money invested in high quality early education will save Americans by increasing graduation rates and decreasing teen pregnancy and violent crime.
President Obama said that in Oklahoma and Georgia, studies showed similar programs help former students keep a job and maintain a stable family. Critics dismissed the claims and said that the nation is already around $16 trillion in debt and they point to a Department of Health and Human Services study that shows limited benefits after third grade for those enrolled in preschools under the Head Start program that cost $7 billion.