Since the State of the Union address, President Obama has continued his campaign to expand access to early childhood education by visiting programs in Georgia and Alabama. Advocates in the early childhood field are excited to have such high national attention paid to the success good programs can bring.
They have continued this week by reminding government officials planning the program that academic success and social-emotional skills must go hand-in-hand with any evaluation design. Detractors are concerned that we would be creating another program difficult to find funding for.
At the same time as this debate is going on, Head Start funding could be significantly reduced because of the threat of sequestration. The Jacksonville Public Education Fund's President, Trey Csar, appeared on Action News today to talk about the issue. See the story here.
Details of Obama's plan seem to indicate that expansion would be targeted at low- to moderate-income families, enabling them to access high quality preschool programs that may include funding for surround issues, maintaining low teacher/child ratios, teacher training and salaries. The president's plan focuses on a federal-state partnership, similar to what we already have in Florida.
Want to dive deeper? Check out this great blog post about the access vs quality debate.