Gov’s do-nothing approach abandoning thousands of four-year-olds
INDIANAPOLIS – You’re only 4 once, and if you live in Indiana, odds are you’re out of luck when it comes to preschool. According to an in-depth lookback by Chalkbeat Indiana and the Indianapolis Star, about 9 out of 10 low-income Hoosier 4-year-olds lack access.
From Chalkbeat Indiana/Indianapolis Star Preschool can cost parents $9,000. Most Indiana 4-year-olds are left behind.
“But even with that change, Indiana has barely made a dent in improving early childhood access, advocates say: The income-based voucher program reaches just under 3,000 of what advocates estimate to be 27,000 4-year-olds from low-income families, with a rocky rollout that has left about 1,000 available spots unfilled.”
If platitudes and press statements could expand access, Governor Eric Holcomb would have every child enrolled. But they don’t. And Holcomb himself took embarrassingly little action to expand preschool during the 2019 session. He made more mentions of McDonalds (1) and manure (1) than early childhood education (0) in his most recent State of the State address.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody saw in Holcomb’s dithering on preschool what has become a pattern of inaction or inability.
“Holcomb’s self-described ‘impatience’ with the little progress his own administration has made on preschool is laughable,” said Zody. “The buck stops with the governor. Either lead or accept responsibility for failure but don’t try to pass off the blame. If Holcomb can’t or won’t get the job done for the thousands of Hoosier 4-year-olds whose future depend on tangible action, what’s the point?”