President Proposes Preschool for All

On Feb. 12, President Barack Obama updated Americans on the most important issues facing the country in his State of the Union address. In his remarks, the President made early learning a national priority by proposing to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.

"Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road.  But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool.  And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives.

"So tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. That's something we should be able to do.

"Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. 

"In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own.  We know this works.  So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance."

In attendance to hear the President's landmark proposal was Susan Bumgarner, an Oklahoma early educator who has written curriculum, trained Head Start teachers, taught infants and toddlers, and prepared parents by teaching readiness class.  Bumgarner was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to attend the State of the Union address.

View the entire State of the Union speech