Local organizations respond to Biden’s plan for universal Pre-K

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Throughout the pandemic, parents have struggled with childcare, and both teachers and students have struggled with online learning. 

President Biden said Tuesday that his administration is hoping to change that with a $1.8 trillion tax plan that focuses on expanding access to education and cutting the costs of childcare.

President Biden’s proposed plan has an emphasis on Pre-K, specifically universal Pre-K. That would mean everyone in America would get the chance to send their kids to Pre-K for free. 

“I see the advantages. I see how much those children mature, but we want to make sure they are always in the window of being right on target because if we let them get to elementary school and they are behind it’s harder for them to get caught up,” said executive Director of The Early Learning Centers of Lubbock, Lena Scaff. 

Biden’s plan would invest $200 billion into providing free Pre-K to all 3 and 4-year-olds – including those from more affluent families.

While Scaff said all kids should be in a Pre-K program, she sees some flaws in this idea.

“I mean, you couldn’t just throw open the doors to all the ISDs and say ‘Okay all the 3 and 4 year olds come on!’ There isn’t enough room!” said Scaff. 

But Pre-K doesn’t just provide education for young students, according to the Children’s Advocacy Center. It can also provide some safety.

“A large majority of the children that suffer abuse and neglect are five and under. And because they don’t go to school or they may not be in preschool — therefore no one is seeing the injuries and they can’t tell anyone,” said Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the South Plains, Derek Danner. 

Danner said teachers are among those that most often report child abuse.

“So that puts those children in environments where those teachers are learning their kids, their demeanor, the way they behave and seeing anything that might be off,” said Danner. 

But in the end — both Danner and Scaff said the importance of Pre-K shouldn’t be underestimated.

“We really want them to be developmentally on target,” said Scaff. 

The spending plan will need to be approved by both chambers of Congress and it is expected to face resistance from GOP lawmakers.

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