May 31, 2013 at 7:33 AM
Funding for early learning
Build federal-state partnership
The Times rightly backs increased investments in preschool [“Editorial: Preschool trickles up,” Opinion, May 19]. But Washington doesn’t have to go it alone.
It’s about fairness. Just 48 percent of low-income children enter kindergarten school-ready, compared to three-fourths of higher-income kids. Quality pre-K levels the playing field, especially for poor kids. And it cultivates “soft skills” prized by employers, like focus and critical thinking, giving today’s kids a better chance to compete in tomorrow’s economy.
Congress should build a federal-state partnership, like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Apple Health for Kids, in Washington). Federal funds would help states like Washington make pre-K affordable for every child. And funding would be limited to providers meeting evidence-informed quality standards.
Apple Health For Kids’ success shows Republicans and Democrats can put kids ahead of politics. Let’s urge Washington’s leaders in Congress to do it again.
A child’s potential, not a parent’s income, should define the limits of academic success.
Bruce Lesley, president, First Focus, Washington, D.C.
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