What he said: Every 4-year-old should have access to high-quality preschool because early childhood education saves taxpayers money in the long term by yielding higher earnings and lowering spending on social services and crime prevention.
How he’d do it: The White House has yet to specify how he would pay for it and his plan for partnering with states, which have gutted funding for early children programs over the past decade.
But the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the White House, released a report last week on universal preschool that provides hints. Under the center’s plan, the federal government would provide up to $10,000 per child to match a state’s investment in early childhood education. The center put the 10-year federal cost at $98.4 billion.
Prospects: Dim. Education has traditionally been more bipartisan than other issues, and Republican leaders are holding their fire until they hear more from the president.
But Republicans aren’t in any mood to expand the federal government’s reach in education, and they won’t be eager to ask more of cash-strapped states.