Center for American Progress

Federal Investment Can Expand Access to Preschool Programs

Federal Investment Can Expand Access to Preschool Programs

A new CAP issue brief illustrates how federal investment can help increase the reach and quality of preschool programs.

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Most states are expanding access to state-funded preschool, but many of these programs developed over the past few years have yet to reach every child. In Mississippi, for example, a bill establishing its first state-funded preschool program is on its way to the governor’s office and awaits his signature. The bill would enable Mississippi to join 39 other states that have established state-funded preschool programs. The new $3 million program, however, will only serve 1,325 4-year-old children in its first year—a mere fraction of the almost 90,000 children in Mississippi preschools.*

As in most states, the Mississippi program will not be available to 3-year-olds. This is why CAP proposed a plan to expand state preschool programs with support from the federal government to all 3- and 4-year-olds. The president outlined his own proposal to expand preschool access, which would be paid for by increasing the taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

States are leading the charge to expand access to preschool, but a significant federal investment will radically increase the reach and quality of these programs.

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