Obama pushes preschool programs in Georgia trip

President Barack Obama on Thursday pitched a new plan to make preschool available to all 4-year-old children, declaring, "Education has to start at the earliest possible age."
Associated Press
Feb 15, 2013

 

With teachers as a backdrop, Obama made his case for greater access to preschool, arguing that poor children in particular can benefit. "Study after study shows that the earlier a child starts learning, the better he or she does down the road," he said. "But here's the thing: We are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance."

It was Obama's second day on the road, after Tuesday's State of the Union address, to promote initiatives for his second term directly to the public.

His visit came on the same day Education Secretary Arne Duncan told senators on Capitol Hill that pending budget cuts could be devastating to current students and could hurt the nation's economy for years to come, if students aren't learning now.

"We're trying to do a lot more in terms of early childhood education, not go in the opposite direction," Duncan said. "Doing that to our most vulnerable children is education malpractice, economically foolish and morally indefensible."

Obama's team is warning Congress — and lawmakers' constituents — what is expected to happen if leaders fail to avert $85 billion in automatic budget cuts set to begin March 1. With the cuts looming, the administration has increased its pressure on lawmakers, and Obama's address Tuesday made clear he was not looking for compromise as he begins his second term.

Before his remarks in Decatur, Obama stopped by a classroom at the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, which serves kids from infancy through pre-kindergarten. He played games with about a dozen children, bending down to give hugs or offer a fist bump.

"If you're looking for a good bang for your education buck , this is it right here," Obama said afterward. He praised the teachers as highly qualified. "This is not babysitting. This is teaching."

The White House fleshed out Obama's plan Thursday, proposing a "continuum of high-quality early learning for a child, beginning at birth and continuing to age 5." The government would fund public preschool for any 4-year-old whose family income is 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level — a more generous threshold than the current Head Start program, which generally serves kids from families below 130 percent of the poverty line. All 50 states and the federal government would chip in.

Obama also is proposing letting communities and child care providers compete for grants to serve children 3 and younger, starting from birth. And once a state has established its program for 4-year-olds, it can use funds from the program to offer full-day kindergarten, the plan says.

Still missing from Obama's plan are any details about the cost, a key concern among Republicans. The White House says federal investment in Head Start, an $8 billion program that serves almost 1 million kids, will grow. But Obama's aides have stressed that the new programs would not add to the nation's nearly $16.5 trillion debt.

"The last budget had over $1.5 trillion of mandatory and revenue savings, things like reductions in entitlements, closing loopholes," Jason Furman, a deputy director of the National Economic Council, told reporters Wednesday. He said the new initiatives would be smaller than that. Obama will outline details about the plan's cost when he sends his 2014 budget proposal to Congress next month, Furman said.

Ahead of that, the White House and Congress are weighing whether to let the deep automatic spending cuts to take hold on March 1. If that happens, some 10,000 teachers could be out of work and 70,000 students could be kicked out of Head Start programs, Duncan warned lawmakers. The cuts would also force an additional 14,000 Head Start workers to be laid off and would mean 1.2 million students from low-income families would have their schools' funding cut. Washington also would stop paying its share of 7,200 special needs educators' salaries.

If the White House wants to move ahead, officials are going to need help from the states to provide political cover and dollars alike. House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday involving the federal government in early childhood education was "a good way to screw it up." The Republican chairman of the House committee overseeing education policy, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., was cool toward the proposal and was unlikely to support new spending on it. And even Obama's allies acknowledged there was little Washington could do without governors' help.

Kline said that "before we spend more taxpayer dollars on new programs, we must first review what is and is not working in existing initiatives, such as Head Start."

Republicans and conservatives have questioned the effectiveness of Head Start programs, citing studies such as a Health and Human Services Department report last year showing that, while at-risk students enrolled in the pre-kindergarten programs saw tremendous gains in vocabulary and social development, those benefits largely faded by the time students reached third grade. The HHS report didn't explain why the students saw a drop-off in performance or predict how they would fare as they aged.

"There's reason for huge skepticism," said Mike Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank. "Most states are still in a ditch financially, and it's going to be a couple years before they're out of it. ... I don't know where the states are going to come up with the money for this."

Scores of other studies, however, were more favorable toward the program, which has been shown to make at-risk students more likely to complete high school and avoid criminal arrests. In pure dollars and cents, academics called it a smart investment.

 

Comments

donutshopguy

Don't the parents have any responsibility in educating their children anymore?

arnmcrmn

Obama wants the government to think and act for you........parenting?.....whats that word.

BW1's picture
BW1

The election was too close - too many people are still not voting "correctly." Thus, we have a call to get them into government indoctrination earlier, to better produce an electorate that will vote "correctly."

9299

Your right! Of course, it's a lot easier to redraw congressional districts to get the desired outcome and less expensive than years of "brainwashing." I think those on the right are mostly worried about people being able to think and reason-kind of like those in Texas who oppose teaching critical thinking skills in schools.

goofus

Quoting verbatim from the Slate or Huffpo there 9299????

The Big Dog's back

Actually Obama won in a landslide.

deertracker

Forgive them Dog for they have no clue what they are talking about!

goofus

Huh????? Oh I get it, trolling again huh, Brutus!!!

BW1's picture
BW1

Not in the popular vote. That was a 2% margin.

The Big Dog's back

I'd call winning by 5 million votes a landslide. BTW it's 4%.

BW1's picture
BW1

That word does not mean what you think it means - you're suffering from vicarious delusions of grandeur. Landslides include Roosevelt in 36, Johnson in 64, and Nixon in 72, all with more than 30% popular vote margins. 4% isn't even an average victory.

bluedot

Hmmmmmm......

grandmasgirl

I feel sorry for kids these days. It seems like everyone wants them to grow up fast so they don't have to take responsibility for them. Kids need time to learn how to play in life. Then they don't have to try and do it when they are in their 20's and 30's.

Contango

Reads like a great idea. But why stop there?

Chauffer them to school in limousines. Think of all the new chauffer jobs and the new mfging jobs customizing limos in order to accommodate the little tikes.

The Federal Resv. is buying approx. three-fours of U.S. Treasuries now.

Just phone up Mr. Bernanke and tell him to print some more "funny money."

Bread and circuses for EVERYONE!!!

44846GWP

Winnie, you once came out against healthy school lunches. Winnie, great American!

Contango

Don't you vote against school levies Zippy? :)

Fromthe419

Santa Claus coming to town to offer more free stuff with borrowed treasure. I'm all for educating our children but we as a nation are broke.

deertracker

Well, instead of perpetuating the myth of Santa, use that money to educate your kids!

Fromthe419

My point was how are they going to pay for it? where is this extra money going to come from. I have a question that I want everyone to answer seriously, what would happen if the USD lost it's status of being the world's reserve currency? Think about that for a moment.

mikel

here's an idea.....why don't we better educate those who are already in school??? also, you can already enroll your child in pre-school at the age of 4 if you want. i believe that wsos provides pre-school to children whose parents are on the dole.

deertracker

Only those on the "dole"? Snap out of it.

ladydye_5

My twins did not go to preschool. I could NOT afford it. And yes MOST preschools you need to pay for. As a parent I thought it was MY job to teach them. They knew everything they needed and passed the screening with flying colors. The school district we were in STILL wanted to put them in preschool, to "catch up". I told them NO. The are now 16 and honor roll students. If they are wanting everyone to use a preschool program why are the still SO EXPENSIVE!?

thinkagain

Send our children to government indoctrination plants by the time they are four. Perhaps he could call it “Obama Youth”?

Contango

I like it! We've already got that creepy symbol of an "O" rising above a flowing field of red and white to go on the armbands and military style caps.

samiam

If they start the indoctination early enough, they won't have anyone to question it when these youths are adults.

9299

Really! My kids mostly came home for the early grades talking about Washington and Lincoln. I don't recall any discussion with them about the Democratic or Republican platform issues. I guess I sent them to the wrong public democratic/socialist indoctrination school.

BW1's picture
BW1

Then you're not paying attention.

44846GWP

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal information.

Swamp Fox

What money tree is being picked to pay for yet another government program? Didn't Obama state that none of his proposals during the State of the Union "will cost a dime" which is true, it will cost billions....

arnmcrmn

More lies from the messiah......aren't you use to it yet. I was after 1 year in office.

Oh and don't worry, they will pay for it by cranking the printing press to 9.....its on 8 right now.

Contango

@ arnmcrmn:

Lived in IL and never heard of the guy until he ran for the U.S. Senate.

Got my first whiff of corruption, when his main opponent Jack Ryan's "sealed" divorce papers “mysteriously” became public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jac...(politician)

deertracker

Well that settles it then.

Contango

@ deertracker:

LOL. Yea, IL sends its governors to prison cause politics in the state is so clean and pure.

BTW: Michelle got a nice salary raise in her job after hubby was elected to the IL Senate.

http://answers.yahoo.com/questio...

The Big Dog's back

You are so jealous of that man.

deertracker

His wife too!

Contango

@ deertracker:

Wonder why the hospital didn't refill the position after she left?

You're so far up his tush; Pres. Obama could kill innocent men, woman and children and you'd say that they had it comin'.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2...

deertracker

Call and ask the hospital if you are really concerned. If he saved a innocent life you would be upset about that too. It's not about being up anyone's "tush". I just choose to give the man his credit for being who he is. It is extremely difficult to become President so he has earned the respect of many. Hate all you want but the fact is he is our leader not Gary Whatshisname!

Contango

@ deertracker:

You're right. I'll give him credit for having the highest number of Americans on long-term unemployment, SSDI, welfare and food stamps in the history of the country.

Quite a "leader." :)

So how about those 10 innocent dead Afghanis? No big deal huh?

44846GWP

Winnie is in love with Obama, he won't admit it.

deertracker

I believe kids can learn at a very early age. I also believe it is a wise investment. All parents cannot do the things lady_dye did for lots of reasons. This is not about Obama, it's about your kids. Everyone wants to claim America is so great and the best at this or that but is it really? It's time to put up or shut up!

mikel

you MAKE the time to shape your kids lives!

deertracker

I agree but you also have to provide for them by going to work. Some make it sound so black and white but we all know there is alot of gray in there. There are lots of single parents that really need the help with early education. Why not give your child every opportunity possibe to be successful?

Fromthe419

More investment = More taxes. We already spend more money per student than any other nation in the world with mediocre results at best. Makes teachers and school boards accountable for their students results and demand parents to be more involved in their children's education. Most parents today look at school as a baby sitter.

Swamp Fox

deertracker who is going to pay for it, we can't fund education now, I know we can borrow from China, whats another trillion or so of federal debt. These same preschoolers will still be paying on the interest when they are adults... I am sure these preschools will be incorporated into our public school systems and taught by good union paying teachers...

deertracker

Are you suggesting we do nothing? Should the parents stay home and go on welfare? Some of you want it both ways. Georgia and Oklahoma offer great preschool programs. Two very red states!

Now The Rest of...

Why is it the Federal goverment responsibility? Where is the cash coming from, typical liberal attitude, do it, don't worry where the money comes from, makes us feel good, we care....

arnmcrmn

No, what is the typical liberal attitude is, ban it 1st....if that doesn't work, throw money at it without really knowing if its going to work....if that doesn't work blame BUSH.

tell it how it is

I can agree with that. I, personally, did not vote for Obama and am disappointed others did. BUT, this is something I do agree with. Some parents can handle teaching their children, others are too busy working trying to provide for their family. Honestly, if parents can't afford to send their children to school, yet can stay home with them instead of going to work, there's something wrong there.
Many children are fine not going to preschool, others aren't. If it was more affordable, it really would help families and give the children more of a chance.

This is probably the only time I'll ever say I agree with Obama, just to throw that out there. But, like deertracker said, this is about the kids not the president.

Centauri

"Education has to start at the earliest possible age."

For decades, television provided education for the preschoolers.

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/...

deertracker

Agreed!

Speakezy

Sieg Heil Obama!

donutshopguy

deer,

It's the parents responsibility to educate their children. "It's time to put up or shut up."

deertracker

It is partially the parents resposibility. If a parent does not either home school or send their kids to school, what happens? They go to jail. Either way it is not free so put up or shut up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now The Rest of...

If you don't go to preschool, you go to jail, please come up for air...

tell it how it is

he meant the parents go to jail for contributing to Truancy..

Swamp Fox

Where in the Constitution does the Federal Government have any jurisdiction in education at any level?

The Big Dog's back

The whole Constitution is centered around education.

Swamp Fox

doggie breath, even for you that's an outlandish comment with no basis in fact. What section, of the Constitution deals with Federal responsibility for any type of education?

We are talking U.S. Constitution, not the Obama-Lenin manifesto that the goverment controls facets of our lives.....

deertracker

21st century meet swamp fox!

Swamp Fox

Once again ignore the Constitution, how liberal of you...

goofus

Absolutely no where except in a leftist world, it's indoctrination so as to secure a voting bloc to keep them in power forever. As with illegal aliens and the welfare state!!!

deertracker

Do you know what the word "indoctrination" means? You neo-CONS make the most ridiculous comments!

goofus

Why does FEMA have multiple indoctination camps here in Ohio!
Rkidiculous comments are reserved for the left and Brutus as well as yourself sometimes!!!!

goofus

We need less fed and more states rights.

44846GWP

States rights is not what this country is about. If it were, we would have 50 countries. There is a reason its called "The United States".

goofus

This country used to be about state's rights. If you didn't like the state you were living in, it was alot easier relocating to another state. Now to get away from Obozo you have to go to Belize or Costa Rica!!!!!!

Contango

Zippy writes:

"There is a reason its called 'The United States'".

You're right. It's not referred to as the United “State.”

arnmcrmn

@44846. Wow, really? I didn't know our country was the United Government? This country was founded on "state rights"....I guess you missed that in history class. Maybe they can brush up on that during lunch at the retirement home for you.

KURTje

Really interesting reading these comments. Some of the posters I know a bit about. Yet like most they feel it is only them that counts. Our future could be grim with that approach.

donutshopguy

So if mandating four year olds to attend school than taking them at birth to start educating is even a better idea ? Isn't that the logic we are to follow? The government knows better than parents?

goofus

Reminds me of the shool lunch program when some federal person told the little girl that her mom packed her a bad lunch and she should purchase her lunch because the government knows better than her parent.

The Big Dog's back

If her parent is a right winger, Gov does know better.

Swamp Fox

if her parent is a left wing wacko its already a goverment handout...

coasterfan

It's an amazing thing to hear extremists who have absolutely no clue that they are at the extreme political edge. Here's a few hints that can help you self-identify:
1. If you think McCain and Romney were RINOs, you could be a right-wingnut.
2. If you think Obama is a Nazi, Communist, Marxist, Socialist or ultra-liberal, you could be a right-wingnut.
3. If you were curiously silent while Bush took a surplus budget and turned it into a free-falling deficit, then suddenly in Jan. 2009, became very vocal about the Federal deficit, you could be a right-wingnut.
4. If you make less than $250,000 per year and still vote Republican, you could be a right-wingnut. And also not terribly intelligent.
5. If you get your "news" mostly from Fox, and think that every other media source on the planet is part of "the liberal media", you could be a right-wingnut.
6. If you love America, but hate most Americans (specifically anyone who isn't like you), you could be a right-wingnut.
7. If you didn't notice that Rubio's rebuttal of Obama's State of the Union address was a carbon copy of the Romney platform that voters soundly rejected just 3 months ago, you might be a right-wingnut.
8. If you disagree with Bobby Jindal, when he said "Republicans need to stop being the stupid party", you are most decidedly a right-wingnut.

Swamp Fox

deer "It's an amazing thing to hear extremists who have absolutely no clue that they are at the extreme political edge". Glad you finally admitted it, how very liberal of you.....

This country was built on "how can I do it" not "how can the goverment do it for me".....

arnmcrmn

liberals dont get that. they love handouts and the word LAZY!!!!!

Contango

@ coasterfan:

Channeling a lefty version of Jeff Foxworthy?

Don't those who vehemently decry "right-wingnuts," tend to be "left-wing crazies?"

The Big Dog's back

So, so true coaster.

shucks

Coasterfan,
I Agree

Fromthe419

The bigger question is what are we going to do about the needed funds that seems to be the issue of the day in today's papers. I see levies for schools, police, and others. We see more tax increases coming out of DC, the state and local governments. How much should we all pay? You can't tax the rich 100 percent and you can't tax the middle class more...who do you go after? BHO's proposal to raise minimum wage to $9 per hours will get most of those off of medicaid and put them in a situation to pay for Obamacare or pay the penalty. Can someone on the left tell me how much I should pay in taxes? When you look at your bills each month and see all of the hidden taxes (excise, universal, sales, gas tax etc) we are taxed to death. Someone please tell me how much is enough

donutshopguy

Fromthe419,

Your taxes will be increased until you decide to stop working and let the government provide for you.

Contango

Rep. Jackson (D-IL) and his wife may be off to prison.

Proving yet once again that IL is known for crooked and corrupt politicians not unlike our Prez.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/1...

goofus

What in the world is scaring the left. With the presidency and the senate in their control why all the hatred and venomnous speech from their bloggers. You would expect them to so peaced out with the majority of government under their power, but instead of bliss, they are so full of hate and resentment of a minority. I thought the left was so tolerant of minorities instead of hatred! What are they scared of?

shucks

Goofus-- What makes you think that? The Left is scared?

(By the way, the Right is the ugly , hateful party.)

goofus

If one truly reads the blogging of Brutus,Coasterfan,John Harville, you and many more one can surely see the problem. They are so loaded with venom and hatred to their way of thinking, it has to be fear. They spend way to much time debunking Fox News and the Tea Party for fear that they will get people thinking. There is a different point of view out in the real world that they and the media fail to comprehend. Even Obozo referred to many as bitter clingers in flyover country. Why do they fear fox news and the te party so much that their only reason for life is to besmirch it. Funny that I have never heard of fox news being sued for libel.

shucks

Fox News and the Tea Party are hate filled - period.

Who got sued for libel ? There must be a link.

goofus

A leftist hate filled rant by a person with a serious comprehension problem!!!!!

shucks

Are you REALLY talking about my post ???

goofus

NO

arnmcrmn

goof, its simple, the left do not know the words....hard work, compromise..or any other word or phrase describing that fact that his country needs less government and more responsibility for ones actions in life.

Instead they have redefined and heavily emphasized the words....entitlement, handouts, government, welfare, your money is someone else money...etc.

The left has so much more hate. Look at the difference between the tea party movement vs the occupy movement. One was organized, civil, paid for permits and conducted themselves in a very responsible way....the other was full of trash, sex in public, had no core value for their movement, drugs, arrests, fightings and even people being killed.

The left better clean up their side....its pretty sad.

The Big Dog's back

The right wing definition of compromise, do it my way or I'm picking up my toys and going home.

shucks

And also.....the Right will destroy the USA to get what they want.

goofus

Versus Obozo and the left destroying our country for what they want!!!!

arnmcrmn

look in the mirror pal.

KURTje

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

KURTje

S.R. ademit that you are wrong. Only facts were stated - nothing more nothing less. Again - this IS why you could not serve in the Marine Corps. Attitude. Truth is never wrong. Yes there is a time for couth & or tact, yet I do know of some of the posters here....my family's lineage is very deep. Hence my accurate post. Many here must be related to Ted Nugent.

There you go again

Just ask Obama how the Head Start program is working!? Not too well but he still wants to take parenting from adults and put children in pre-school. Being from Georgia I can tell you this Pre-K program is privately funded-keep your hands off Obama and the government!! He is playing up Decatur GA like it was his idea-leave us alone.