Gov. Nathan Deal shared a stage in May with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan — but he didn’t share Duncan’s enthusiasm for the president’s plan to spend $75 billion over 10 years expanding pre-kindergarten and other early childhood initiatives.
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Preschool for All
As proposed by the president, the plan calls for providing high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds, investing in infant and toddler early learning and development, and expanding parent and family support.
The objectives: close America’s school-readiness gap and ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
Why the White House says it is a priority: Research has shown that high-quality early learning programs and services improve young children’s health, social-emotional and cognitive outcomes; enhance school readiness; and help close the school-readiness gaps that exist between children with high needs and their peers.
How it would be funded: an increase in taxes on tobacco products.
What’s in it for Georgia: about $108 million could come to Georgia in the first year it participates in the Preschool for All program. With a $10 million match from the state, there would be money to serve about 13,315 children from low- and moderate-income families in the first year. The state could compete for a share in $1.4 billion being offered through an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant program, and could vie for a share of $15 billion earmarked over 10 years to extend and expand voluntary home-visiting programs, with nurses, social workers and others. Each year, more than 39,000 low-income mothers in Georgia give birth and may benefit from these voluntary services.