In a broad sense, universal preschool (or universal Pre-K) is a publicly funded and tuition-free program for age-eligible children (usually 3- and 4-year olds), regardless of income level or other factors
Public education for most students typically starts in Kindergarten and continues through grade 12. However, many children whose parents can afford it get an early advantage by participating in private pre kindergarten or preschool at ages 3 and 4. It is also no secret that the cost of daycare around the country can be quite expensive, and many working parents often struggle to find affordable care for their children. While private childcare remains to be the primary option available in many areas of the U.S., cities like Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, and soon Portland, have all incorporated a universal approach to preschool education.
This creates not only equal education opportunity, but it also enables parents with higher incomes to continue working, increasing the rich-poor divide.
In response to the need to expand pre-k educational opportunities, the federal government initiated the “Head Start” program in 1965. The program targets low income households, making it possible for them to enroll l their children in pre-k. However, many households do not qualify because their income is too high but they also cannot afford to pay for pre K schooling
This need opens the question of whether orr not pre-k, and maybe the Head Start program in particular, should be expanded. Expansion could included both generally increased funding to improve the quality of the program as well as increasing the income limit to qualify for participation.
*Universal PreK reduces achievement gaps between rich and poor children
*It levels the playing field for children in low income families – making sure they can keep.
*Universal preschool allows caregivers to reenter the workforce
*Universal pre K increases the diversity of preschool classes
*Mothers are primary or sole income sources for 40% of households
*Head start is fragmented and underfunded
*Head start proves early childhood education pays off
Universal preschool education is transformative (3 great studies at end of article)
*The lack of district oversight leaves many charter schools mismanaged
*Universal Pre K could lead to teacher burnout – with universal PreK come educational standards and tests. PreK teachers are paid less K-12 teachers
*Taking PreK students out of daycare (3-4 year olds) hinder these centers ability to take care of Infants.
*Parents shouldn’t be forced to pay for services they don’t use
*Public schools are already overstressed, overcrowded and underfunded – adding universal PreK will make this worse.
*Benefits of preK are subject to “Fading” – they don’t last
*Studies support these program helping the lowest income students – but for everybody else they have no discernible impact