Federal Preschool Programs Waste Taxpayers’ Money, Limit School Choice

Sarah Torre /

Federal Preschool Programs

The alphabet is expensive. The Obama administration’s FY 2011 budget includes $9.3 billion in new spending on an Early Learning Challenge Fund, a new federal preschool program contained within the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA). The SAFRA, a higher education bill, has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

Heritage education policy expert Lindsey Burke outlines current federal spending on preschool programs and illustrates that further federal involvement in early childhood education is unnecessary. Burke points out:

The ultimate goal of the myriad early education bills is to guarantee access to publicly subsidized preschool for all families.…But statistics show that most American children already have access to preschool: More than 80 percent of four-year-old children are enrolled in a preschool program; enrollment of three-year-olds and four-year-olds has increased fivefold since 1964. Moreover, the federal government already provides preschool subsidies to low-income children…turning another benefit for universal preschool into a new subsidy for middle-class and upper-income children.