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The Starting Line: The preschool money problem

December 4, 2018
Ann Schimke

Hello and welcome to the second issue of The Starting Line!

We have a number of stories this month that highlight a perennial preschool conundrum: Where do you get public dollars to pay for it? In Indiana, some lawmakers are worried the opioid crisis will eat up funding that might otherwise flow to the state’s preschool program. Other states, including California, have new governors who’ve promised massive preschool expansions without many details about how they plan to get there.

A child care provider in Illinois put the issue in stark personal terms last month when she delivered a desperate plea to state early childhood leaders: “Down here in the trenches, those of us who are cleaning the poop and plunging the toilets — we’re the ones who are not making it.”

Finally, read to the end of the newsletter to hear more from one national preschool expert who says the problem is “a lot of wishful thinking about money.”

THE DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES As New York City expands its signature preschool program to 3-year-olds, experts caution that serving these children well isn’t as simple as duplicating what’s already in place for older students.

Reporter Marva Hinton, of Education Week, recently talked with W. Steven Barnett, the senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, about some of the factors inhibiting preschool expansion. Here’s a snippet of that interview. Read the full version here.