Data Highlights Need for High Quality Pre-School for Everyone
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal highlights a serious issue regarding the cost of full-time daycare or preschool. In nearly half of the country, it is now more expensive to send a 4-year-old to preschool than it is to send an 18-year-old to college. According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the average costs of childcare exceed 10% of the median income for a family of four in 40 U.S. states.
In the WSJ article, Tanyell Cooke, a research assistant from the EPI, was quoted as saying, “High-quality child care is out of reach for many families. This crisis is not limited to low-income families, nor is it unique to certain parts of the country. It affects everyone, in every state.”
Time and time again, research has shown that children need access to stable, high-quality preschool to start life on a strong foundation. But as this report suggests, that isn’t always an option for low-income families. By attending Head Start, children from families that can’t afford those high costs can still have access to high-quality preschool. The families that are able to secure a spot in a Head Start program for their child, show much better long-term outcomes, including being more likely to graduate high school.
Education should be available to all children, despite family income. As the article in The Wall Street Journal suggests, child care shouldn’t cost more than 10% of a family income. It’s obvious that families in certain states have a huge disadvantage when it comes to preschool payments, and we need to find a way to equal the playing field while still providing excellent education for children to have a strong foundation. Head Start is a program that can help foster learning and provide a stable starting point in life. Unfortunately, there is simply not enough funding to offer Head Start services to every low-income family with pre-school aged children.
The debate is still ongoing for concepts such as universal preschool. In the meantime, as one of the longest-running anti-poverty programs in the nation, Head Start is vitally important to help fill that gap.