President Obama spent time today campaigning for early childhood education in Decatur, GA. He offered a Valentine's Day present for government-funding of early childhood education in our nation's schools.
"President Obama gave one little Georgia boy a fist bump Thursday as he unveiled the most ambitious proposal for early childhood learning since President Lyndon Johnson's Head Start," added The New York Daily News. "It's unclear if Republicans will now give it a thumbs down."
Obama traveled to a Decatur, Georgia. pre-K classroom to boost a central element of his plan for economic revival: a federal-state partnership to offer high-quality pre-K to all four-year-olds, added The News.
"Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool," he later told an audience, according to the media report.
"The president is traveling to promote his economic and educational plan that he highlighted in his State of the Union address," added The News. "Within it, he proposed a federal-state partnership to offer high-quality pre-K to all four-year-olds."
"And for the poor children who need it the most, the lack of access to a great preschool education can have an impact on their entire lives. And we all pay a price for that," added President Obama in his remarks.
Obama made his proposal, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, amid a growing body of research that shows a link between early learning and reductions in juvenile delinquency and dropout rates, cited the article.
The evidence also shows that children exposed to early education are more likely to find better jobs as adults, and as teachers in early childhood classrooms, we have to applaud the President's renewed commitment to the education of all children.
"Obama's plan would also include an expansion of the existing federally run Early Head Start, which is aimed at children up to three year old, and supporting voluntary programs where experts visit low-income families to help with parenting skills," added The News
Yet the U.S. ranks low among developed nations in the percentage of children enrolled in pre-K instruction. "Holy smokes," tweeted James Heckman, a Nobel Prize economist at the University of Chicago, when he heard of Obama's proposal. Heckman is a staunch free-market advocate but one who argues that such government investment will bring major societal and economic returns, according to The News.
President Obama high-fives children in a pre-kindergarten classroom at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Georgia. He's hoping to do the same with Congressional Republicans, who are worried about the quality of the education that will be provided in the expanded pre-K program.
The most ambitious proposal for early childhood education since 1965
The Head Start program, launched by President Johnson in 1965 for low-income children from ages three to five, would continue as it is, according to Obama's new plan, added the news article.
Congressional Republicans are wary of such a dramatic expansion of early education programs and they question whether the quality of the pre-K programs can be assured. stated the News. Obama confronted a central suspicion when he alluded to the Georgia center's well-educated staff and said, "This is not babysitting. This is teaching."
Staten Island early childhood educators let us know your opinion about the growing importance of pre-kindergarten programs in our nation's schools. Always a sceptic that this proposal may be politics as usual, I feel the importance of early childhood education is on the rise and hope that the President's new agenda will call for a greater emphasis in UPK and Head Start programs on Staten Island and nationwide. Also, we hope as educators, that the pay rates should reflect public school teachers salaries in these federally funded programs. Let us know your comments and feedback Staten Island on www.examiner.com.