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Pence continues push for state-funded preschool

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is pushing forward with efforts to persuade lawmakers to funnel state money into preschool for children from low-income families.

Pence on Thursday made another pitch for a pilot program to help families earning less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level send their children to public or private preschool.

The legislation is a scaled-down version of the governor's goal to give vouchers to roughly 41,000 youths eligible for early childhood education. Only five counties would be chosen for vouchers to send children to preschool under the bill.

The Indiana House approved the bill with broad bipartisan support in January, but whether the Senate will support the proposal and its multimillion-dollar price tag is unclear.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimates the project could cost anywhere between about $7.5 million and $30 million per year. An Indiana Office of Management and Budget report backed by Pence predicts the program could cost about $10.6 million for roughly 1,500 students. The cost will vary depending on which counties the state selects for the pilot.

The governor said he distributed the OMB report to Statehouse leaders this week.

What impact preschool programs actually have on childhood development also is debated. Studies show both that preschool can help children or have little to no effect.

Critics point to limited academic impact, most commonly shown in the federally funded Head Start program. The governor argues that targeting low-income families could have greater impact.

"Some of the results about the value of pre-K are ambiguous," Pence said. "But with regard to disadvantaged kids, numerous studies support that quality pre-K education is of a great benefit to children who grow up in difficult circumstances."

Pence said he expects the bill to be discussed at a Senate committee next week.

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  • I could have sworn...
    ...when I went to the polls that Pence was shown as the Republican candidate. I was obviously wrong. Socialist would have been correct.
  • Totally agree
    Pence is a homophobic, out of touch, governor, who would have only gotten elected in the state of Indiana. I cannot believe that he is running this state, and like you said, straight down Tea Party mentality. That is a very scary proposition.
  • Smoke and Mirrors
    Pure Pence theater, he know this will not pass and with his Tea Party underpinnings and cutting taxes where would he come up with the money?
    • Kindergarten First!!!
      Before spending more tax money on vouchers, Indiana should make Kindergarten mandatory for all students. Only after evaluation of ISTEP scores for 3rd graders, all of whom have attended K-1-2-3, should another costly action be considered or abandoned. My view after 38 yrs. in Indiana Public Education and as a Taxpayer/Parent/Grandparent
    • Hilarius
      And this is the same Pence who is cutting taxes on the wealthy businesses and depriving schools of funding. (holding my sides laughing)

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    1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

    2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

    3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

    4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

    5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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