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Early Education/Universal Preschool

A federally supported universal preschool program would ensure that quality preschool education is available to every child in America. Such a program would promote school readiness by providing all children with the early education necessary to begin school ready to learn. Studies of high-quality early childhood programs demonstrate that they are especially beneficial to children from economically disadvantaged households. In addition, a universal preschool system would help meet the growing demand for child care that stems from the increasing proportion of families that have both parents in the workforce.

Future Success

Far too many American children enter school without the early learning necessary to succeed in school. Although public education has historically been viewed as an equalizing institution, educational inequality usually begins before children enter school. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, children from low-income households enter school with one-fourth of the vocabulary of middle-class students. By the time he or she enters first grade, a middle-class child has gained approximately a 20,000-word vocabulary; in contrast, a child from low-income household has gained only a 5,000-word vocabulary.

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