House of Representatives
State of Idaho
Hy Kloc- District 16, Ada County
Committees- Education, Local Government
Preschool education is not a new concept. Idaho is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t currently fund a preschool program.
Years of research by neuroscientists tell us that the human brain is extremely receptive to stimuli, and will develop nearly 85% of its capacity during the first 5 years of life. Evidence suggests that preschool education helps to increase literacy capability in later years. Support for preschool bridges the partisan political divide. Even conservative states such as Oklahoma and Mississippi that decry government overreach support preschool programs.
In an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled, “Capitalists for Preschool”, John E. Pepper Jr. and James M. Zimmerman presented their business case for quality preschool. Pepper, a former chairman and chief executive of Procter & Gamble, and Zimmerman, a former chairman and chief executive of Macy’s wrote, “Universally available prekindergarten is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. If there ever was a nonpartisan issue, this is it.”
The case for early childhood education programs
The reason for the broad support for funding preschool is simple: It pays big dividends. Studies show that for every $1 invested in preschool programs, society sees a return on that investment from $2 to $17 in the years ahead. For children from low to moderate-income households, preschool levels the playing field, allowing them to excel at a rate comparable to their more-affluent contemporaries. What’s more, children who attend preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to college than their peers who don’t. And that is crucial if we are to meet the state’s goal of a 60% graduation rate.
The benefits of a preschool education don’t end at graduation. Young adults who participated in a preschool program are more likely to have a consistent work history, buy a house, have a stable relationship, and live within the law. These are achievements that strengthen the social fabric of our communities.
Idaho’s educational system is failing to live up to its potential. National data shows that Idaho ranks at or near the bottom in areas critical to the future success of our people and our economy. Failure to adequately fund education, year after year, is resulting in a knowledge deficit that will not only limit the earning potential of today’s students, but undermine business confidence in workforce availability, so essential to future economic growth.
The preschool pilot program bill
The proposed preschool bill is for a three-year pilot program that would involve five schools chosen by the Department of Education from among school districts and Charter Schools throughout the state. The maximum number of students in the pilot would be 100 per year, and participation would be on a voluntary basis. It would be funded through a public-private partnership in which a little more than 55% of the program’s estimated $1.35 million budget would come from foundations and philanthropic organization that have demonstrated support for initiatives that promote innovative solutions for achieving academic success.
Funding for the preschool pilot program
Total budget for three years – $1.35 million
Private-sector support – $750.000
Public-sector support – $600,000
Educators will ensure data-driven results
The Department of Education will select the five participating schools based on an evaluation criteria developed by the Department, school districts, and other interested parties. Student achievement will be tracked and evaluated through testing conducted at the beginning and end of the preschool year, kindergarten, and 3rd grade.
The ultimate goal of the pilot preschool initiative is to provide us with evidence-based data that we can use to determine if universal preschool is right for Idaho.
The three-year preschool pilot program will:
Incorporate best-available methods and materials
Focus on students and high academic standards
Elevate the conversation about what learning is and can be in Idaho
Increase awareness about effective learning choices
Embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity
Expand and enhance the traditional roles of students, teachers and parents
Provide a collaborative partnership that can be supported by family, educators, the community, business, and government
Promote the idea that everyone—regardless of their economic background—can have the opportunity to realize their academic potential
Quarterly Assessments of the pilot program
Counteract the culture of “can’t”
Preschool today, a brighter future for all Idahoans tomorrow
The Foundation is a leader in promoting learning opportunities. The Foundation has invested millions in teachers and programs from preschool through higher education. For those reasons, the Foundation’s support of the preschool bill in the form of funding will not only prove the viability of the pilot concept, but the public-private partnership approach, as well. Both are considered major hurdles by the skeptical Idaho lawmakers who will be considering this bill. Just as important, by taking a lead role and providing an early show of support, the Foundation will encourage other like-minded organizations to step forward and join in this effort, benefitting Idaho students today and for years to come.
Support for the preschool bill
Co-sponsors: Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise/Garden City; Rep. Douglas Hancey, R-Rexburg; Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa; Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise; Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise and others.
Community: Gary Raney, Ada County Sheriff; Boise Chamber of Commerce; Jim Everett, CEO of the Treasure Valley Family YMCA; Beth Oppenheimer, Executive Director Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children; LeAnn Simmons, Idaho Voices for Children and others.
Education: Don Coberly, Boise School District; Jeff Dillon, Wilder School District; Jim Dormas, Salmon River School District; Joey Foote, Salmon School District 291; Rene Forsman, Cottonwood School; Dan Keck, Swan Valley School District; Jamie Holyoak, Grace and North Gem Schools; John McFarlaine, Idaho City School District; Fred Mercer, District 304; Jim Norton, Parma School District; Ellen S. Perconti, West Bonner County School District; Robert Vian, Superintendent of Joint School District 171; Shawn Woodward, Lake Pend Orielle School District and others.