Iowa Preschool Providers Want More Details on President Biden’s Universal Pre-K Plan

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AMES, IOWA — President Biden is proposing a plan to offer free universal pre-school to all American three and four year-olds and Iowans are taking notice.

President Biden’s plan released on Wednesday would make preschool care free for children ages three and four nationwide. The plan would be paid for, along with much of the President’s other proposals, by rolling back tax cuts on the the highest earning Americans. President Biden has promised he won’t raise taxes on anyone making $400,000 per year or less.

Administrators at Ames Community Pre-School Center want to know more about how that money will be distributed. The center serves kids up to the age of 12 at eight sites around Ames. They are interested in seeing how the government will fund facilities like theirs under the plan.

Christine Lippard, an Associate Professor at Iowa State University who focuses on early childhood education, says that pre-school centers already operate under a variety of funding streams and this latest plan will likely follow that model. She says there could be pitfalls, though, that could lead to problems for even younger children.

“As we think about universal pre-K for three and four-year-old we return to the reality that most childcare centers are funded in the structure that the preschool classrooms are helping pay for the infant and toddler,” says Lippard, “So we have to be careful of unintended consequences of the sort the programs.”

Lippard says the childcare industry is facing a shortage of qualified workers due to low pay. That’s something she says the President’s plan could correct.

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