White House allies produce preschool-for-all plan
One thing we can count on with Lord Obama – he loves to spend money that isn’t his. So now we have a Washington think tank with close ties to the White House that is coming up with the hairbrained idea to make it mandatory nationwide, for all 3-4 year olds to attend pre school, which doesn’t come cheap. According to the Center for American Progess proposal, for families with younger children, federal subsidies for child care would increase to an average $7,200 per child and the number of students in Early Head Start programs would double.
“We’re trying to ensure all children are ready to learn when they get to school,” said Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the think tank and a former top policy official in the Obama administration. “Investing in early learning and pre-K is the best investment that we can make. The return on investment is significant.”
Education Department officials, including Secretary Arne Duncan, have signaled that pre-kindergarten programs would be a priority during Obama’s second term. The Center for American Progress has been an influential partner for the White House in fleshing out its policies. Think tank officials say they don’t know what precisely will be in Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, but seldom does the organization move too far or too quickly ahead of White House priorities.
Here’s how the proposal would work. Washington would match states’ spending on these preschool programs for 3- or 4-year-olds at an average rate of $10,000 per child — enough to cover full-day programs. The program would be phased in over five years, starting first with low-income students who, studies show, benefit the most from pre-kindergarten programs.
Children ages 3 and 4 would be eligible to attend preschool for free if they come from a family of four earning $46,100 or less. For families making more than that, the rates would be adjusted based on income.
Once again, Obama telling us what we can afford.
Remember, paying for pre-school isn’t cheap. Over a 10-year period, it would cost $98.4 billion for preschool, $84.2 billion for child care subsidies and $11.5 billion for Early Head Start — a total of almost $200 billion. Once the program was up and running, it would cost nearly $25 billion a year — $12.3 billion for preschool, $10.5 billion for child care subsidies and $1.4 billion for Early Head Start.
Hmm so to cover the expense, bet he raises taxes again. One good thing, with Republicans controlling the purse strings, it’s highly unlikely this will pass.
And there are always doom and gloom figures passed on to us that if we don’t go along with Lord Obama, and if kids don’t go to pre school, there’s a 25% chance that child will drop out of school….hmm, back in our day, we never had pre school, and we didn’t drop out. I wonder whose crystal ball these progressives are using.
Records show the average family with two parents working and with children younger than 5 spends roughly a one-tenth of the income on child care. For families making less, that percentage climbs quickly. But this plan would double the number of families making $46,100 or less who receive child care subsidies, from 22 percent to 44 percent. More government entitlements.
Currently, the average subsidy is about $5,600 annually — far short the actual cost of caring for these infants and toddlers. The proposal would have federal tax dollars cover 75 percent of the subsidy program and take the annual amount to about $7,200. States would be left to pick up the rest.
That part of the proposal would cost the federal government an estimated $84.2 billion over its first decade.
The proposal also would increase the number of students in Early Head Start programs from 120,000 to 240,000. That piece of the plan would cost $11.5 billion over its first 10 years.