Clinton Pre-K Proposal Targets Gap Created by Parents’ Education

Children are much more likely to attend a pre-K program if their parents are well-educated.

Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a roundtable discussion held by Univision between parents of elementary school children and politicians regarding language learning and preschool on February 4, 2014 in New York City.
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Janie Boschma
June 16, 2015, 12:19 p.m.

Hil­lary Clin­ton on Monday an­nounced a pro­pos­al that would give every 4-year-old child ac­cess to a high-qual­ity preschool pro­gram with­in 10 years. Clin­ton’s pro­pos­al builds on Pres­id­ent Obama’s Preschool for All pro­gram, which wasn’t in­cluded in Con­gress’s an­nu­al budget.

Cur­rently, 44 states provide pub­licly fun­ded pre-K pro­grams, up from 40 a year ago. Clin­ton’s plan would provide states with ad­di­tion­al fed­er­al fund­ing to ex­pand those pro­grams, in the hopes that it gives “chil­dren a hand up to­wards high­er achieve­ment in their edu­ca­tion and bet­ter pro­spects for lifelong eco­nom­ic op­por­tun­ity,” ac­cord­ing to a cam­paign press re­lease.

Today, 68 per­cent of 4-year-olds are en­rolled in some sort of pre-primary pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tion­al Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion Stat­ist­ics. But NCES data shows a class di­vide among chil­dren’s ac­cess to pre-primary edu­ca­tion. En­roll­ment in either a preschool or kinder­garten pro­gram for 3- to 5-year-olds in­creases con­versely with par­ents’ edu­ca­tion level.

Just over half of chil­dren whose par­ents didn’t gradu­ate high school are en­rolled in a pre-primary pro­gram. The share of chil­dren en­rolling in­creases stead­ily with each tier of par­ents’ highest level of edu­ca­tion. That in­creases to 64 per­cent for chil­dren born to par­ents with an as­so­ci­ate’s de­gree, 70 per­cent for those with col­lege-edu­cated par­ents, and 75 per­cent for kids whose par­ents have a gradu­ate or pro­fes­sion­al de­gree.

Clin­ton’s pro­pos­al stands to provide the biggest boost to Latino chil­dren ages 3 to 5, 57 per­cent of whom en­roll in a pre-primary pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to 2013 NCES data. By com­par­is­on, at least 64 per­cent of their White, Black, and Asi­an peers en­rolled.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.