Preschool

P-16 preschool class Caldwell
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is one of five states that doesn’t fund preschool. Most other states require their school districts to provide pre-kindergarten, or pre-K. Now education officials are reviewing the results of a test study that measures the impact of preschool in one Boise neighborhood.


Whittier School Students Kids Buses
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

The results of an annual survey, released this week, show the majority of Treasure Valley high school students plan to go onto college, but not all of them achieve that goal. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

An informational hearing at the state capitol Wednesday centered on early childhood education.

The Senate Education Committee was scheduled to only hear about kindergarten and other early education resources for 20 minutes. However, questions from senators pushed the meeting to close to an hour.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Numbers from the Economic Policy Institute show that the average Idaho family spends about $7,200 a year for infant child care and $6,900 a year for preschool-aged children. The Idaho Statesman reports that's more than a year's tuition at a public college.

Katy Lightfield told the Boise newspaper that she and her husband expected the $30,000 pay cut they took when they moved from Texas to Idaho. But they were surprised to find that child care costs are the same between the two states.

screengrab aecf.org

The Annie E. Casey Foundation this week released its annual Kids Count report on child well-being. Idaho ranked 22nd out of the 50 states. But Idaho is not really in the middle of the pack when you break that ranking down into its individual components. In some measures, the state’s children have it much better than their peers in other states, and in some they have it much worse.

Corie Howell / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise State University’s Andrus Center for Public  Policy and the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy have teamed up to host a conference on early childhood education in Idaho. It’s Monday at Garden City’s Riverside Hotel.  

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

On Monday, two Idaho Republicans will tiptoe into a public preschool debate the state's Legislature hasn't been willing to confront. Idaho is one of 10 states without public preschool.

Reps. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, and Christy Perry, R-Nampa, are introducing a preschool pilot program they're calling "kindergarten preparedness."

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise and the Boise School District are teaming up to offer preschool as part of the city's Vista Neighborhood Project pilot program. Over a number of years, the city is putting several million dollars into this one part of town in hopes of transforming the relatively-poor neighborhood.

Diana Lachiondo with Boise’s mayor’s office says research shows preschool is good for communities.

Attending state-funded prekindergarten substantially reduces the likelihood that students will end up in special education programs later on, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Another attempt at establishing public preschool in Idaho will likely be introduced this month in the state Legislature. Idaho is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have statewide public preschool. Many lawmakers object to it on philosophical grounds, despite strong evidence it’s good for student success.

Education, school, classroom
IlmicrofonoOgglono / Flickr Creative Commons

The number of Idaho kids living in poverty has risen to 21 percent, that's a 3 percent increase since 2005. That means at least 87,000 Idaho children were living in poverty in 2012. The poverty statistic is just one of the findings in the annual Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Kloc
Idaho Legislature

A bill to launch a preschool pilot program in Idaho has won the support of the House Education Committee.

The pilot would provide half-day educational programs in five Idaho schools, with potential to expand if data shows it gets kids ready for kindergarten.

It carries a $1.4 million price tag for all three years, but Boise Democrat Rep. Hy Kloc stressed Monday less than half of that will come from the state's coffers.

The rest will likely come from grants.

Democratic and some Republican advocates for state-supported preschool intensified their push for a $1.4 million, five-school pilot program they hope will eventually open the door in Idaho to broader pre-kindergarten education.

At a press conference Monday, Boise Rep. Hy Kloc, a Democrat, was joined by Republican Rep. Douglas Hancey of Rexburg and Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney in promoting the proposal.

Courtesy: Hy Kloc

A recent report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds more than two thirds of low income Idaho kids don’t go to preschool. But as we’ve reported before, two thirds of Idaho kids from high income families do go to preschool. That’s not surprising since Idaho is one of only a handful of states that does not have statewide, state-funded preschool.

P-16 preschool class Caldwell
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Advocates for state-supported preschool hope to tackle the issue amid increased interest in changing Idaho's public education system.

One Democratic lawmaker will be pushing a $1.4 million pilot program during the 2014 Legislature.

And the Idaho Statesman reports Beth Oppenheimer, of Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, believes more people are recognizing that taxpayer-financed preschool education programs are sorely missing from the state's education offerings.

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