Dems: Expanding preschool is an investment in our future

March 29, 2016
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High-quality preschool is a critical investment in our future workforce and economy, not just a way to support working parents with child care needs.

 

Studies show the long-term value of high-quality preschool for children, families and communities. Preschool kids are:

  • 25 percent less likely to drop out of school.
  • 40 percent less likely to become a teen parent.
  • 50 percent less likely to need special education.
  • 60 percent less likely to never attend college.
  • 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime.

 

More than 75 percent of Iowa children younger than 6 have all available parents in the workforce, giving Iowa a uniquely high need for quality child care and preschool. Yet our investment in these early years is minimal. For every dollar spent on the education and development of school-aged kids, Iowa invests only 18 cents in children between birth and age five.

 

SF 2296, approved by the Senate, encourages communities to expand preschool offerings, eliminate waiting lists and reach out to those least likely to attend. It also ensures help with transportation costs.

 

To take part in the three-year incentive program, school districts must develop and implement a plan to enroll more eligible students in preschool by collaborating with families, early care providers and community organizations. The extra money participating school districts get will go toward the costs of expansion, such as outreach, renovations and facility expenses.

 

This bill is now being considered by the Iowa House.

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