The Los Angeles Times (4/11, Castellanos) reports on the Preschool for All plan to be paid for by a "94-cent hike on cigarettes...projected to generate more than $78 billion over 10 years." In response, "some Los Angeles-based early-childhood education providers praised the proposal for its plan to fund education for preschoolers across all types of socioeconomic backgrounds." Though one pointed out, "It's complicated for the federal government because there's a spectrum of readiness across the states."
The Seattle Times (4/11, Varner) reports, "The White House proposes expanding preschool to cover all low- and middle-income 4-year-olds nationwide through a federal-state partnership backed by $66 billion over the next decade." It "would be a huge game-changer in early learning policy." And "research shows that investing in high-quality preschool is the best public investment in education." It would also "dovetail nicely with ongoing efforts in Washington state, where a $60 million Race to the Top early learning federal grant is improving preK access and quality."
Bloomberg News (4/11, Duenwald) reports that the program "would go a long way toward helping states create and expand programs for the poorest American 4-year-olds." But "while tobacco taxes are good public health policy, however, they're not a good permanent source of money for early education." That may be fine as "the idea, the administration has suggested, is to jump-start states' pre-kindergarten offerings, not to build a permanent federal program."
The Washington Post (4/10, Strauss) in its "Answer Sheet" blog offers responses to the President's budget proposals concerning education. "Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, both praised and criticized the proposal." He praised the Preschool for All proposal as follows: "NEA members commend President Obama for his commitment to bring quality early childhood education to all children. There are far too many kids without access to a full range of crucial programs like Head Start, pre–K, and full-day kindergarten that lead to long-term student success." Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund, said in a statement: "The President's … investment in early childhood development and education is a giant step forward for children."