Among the multiple issues left untouched by the 2015 session of the Idaho Legislature was pre-K learning for thousands of Gem State children.
Democrats were hoping to float a measure where lawmakers would consider funding for preschool programs, but the Republican majority had little to no appetite to address the issue. In response, the City of Boise has proposed its own Pre-K pilot program
working with the Boise Independent School District, where Pre-K would be offered for eligible children in the city's Vista neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education released a new report Tuesday that points to the greater need for Idaho's children to access high quality preschool. The report, "A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America,"
show what most Idahoans already know—that none of its 24,427 four year olds are enrolled in a state preschool. Why? They don't exist. The same report shows that 8 percent of the children are enrolled in a federal Head Start program and 4 percent are enrolled in a special education preschool service.
Nationally, the report indicates that 28 percent of U.S. 4 year olds are enrolled in a state preschool, in addition to 10 percent in a federal Head Start program and 3 percent in a special education preschool service.
High-quality preschool provides benefits to society of $8.60 for every $1 spent, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors' December 2014 report, "The Economics of Early Childhood Investments,"
about half of which comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up.