Here in New York State, the Campaign for Educational Equity Teachers College, Columbia University and the Center for Children’s Initiatives argue for the feasibility of a statewide, all-day universal pre-K program for three- and four-year-olds. That would be wonderful! Little ones need a head start on the fundamentals that assure success in school later on. I fully support the concept of pre-K, but not in a half-day format. Whom does that help? Certainly not parents whose work shifts coincide with school hours. Even if a parent were able to drop their child off at school in the morning, what’s to become of the child when school is over for the day? It doesn’t make sense to me that school districts make the program available to all but make it difficult for all children to attend.
The Citizen’s Budget Commission disagrees that state and federal aid would be enough to fund the program, arguing instead that taxpayers would end up footing at least part of the bill. The Commission supports the concept of all-day universal pre-K provided the program is implemented in the most cost-effective way possible.
A new Congressional proposal under consideration would authorize federal grants to fund all-day universal pre-K programs; one supporter acknowledges that preschool accessibility for all children could break the cycle of poverty. Why shouldn’t we give underprivileged kids a head start on education starting at a very young age. Isn’t that worth the expense?