The state would spend more taxdollars to provide preschool to four-year-olds if a bill that cleared the Senate Education Committee becomes law. In time, the new program would cost the state 45 million dollars a year. Senator Staci Appel, a Democrat from Ackworth, says a child’s early years are critical.
Appel says the "achievement gap" is so severe some kindergarteners show up on the first day of school reading at an advanced level, while others don’t know the color of the shirt they’re wearing and cannot tell their teacher their own last name.
The bill passed the Senate Education Committee on a 10 to four vote. Some Republicans say they’re worried about the needs of private schools who will be eligible for the new state dollars, but only by contracting with a public school district. Schools will receive the money on a per pupil basis only if they meet new state standards. Other critics said boosting pre-school sends a message that school is more important than having a parent at home.