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Pre-K Pilot Program Introduced

PHOTO: State Representative Hy Kloc (D-Boise) is introducing legislation today for a Pre-K Pilot Program. Photo courtesy of Rep. Kloc.
PHOTO: State Representative Hy Kloc (D-Boise) is introducing legislation today for a Pre-K Pilot Program. Photo courtesy of Rep. Kloc.
January 13, 2014

BOISE, Idaho - Preschool as part of the educational system, instead of just "babysitting." That's the thought behind a pre-K pilot program being introduced today in Idaho. The legislation would establish high-quality, early education for at-risk children through a mix of state funding, private donations and money from businesses.

Rep. Hy Kloc (D-Boise), is sponsoring the bill.

"I think the groundswell - it's really getting close to a tipping point, where people really understand how beneficial preschool can be," Kloc said.

The legislature has resisted pitches to fund pre-K previously, and has also rejected moves to establish standards and regulations for preschools.

Kloc said it's time to acknowledge that the early years are part of the education continuum, and it has been well researched that the first five years of a child's life can set the stage for later success - or failure.

"When I talk to other legislators, they're not just throwing up a wall. Some are, but for the most part, they're letting me tell them what I see as the need," he said.

Kloc found that some legislators say they don't see any data to show the benefits of pre-K in Idaho, so the three-year pilot would provide local data. Idaho Kids Count has found that about 80 percent of children under age 5 live in families with parents working outside the home.

Kloc will unveil the legislation at a news conference today at 10 a.m. at the Idaho Statehouse, WW17.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID