President Obama's plan to provide free, high-quality preschool across the country is getting a mixed response, garnering broad support for helping poor children but raising questions about expanding entitlements and the success of similar programs.
The president announced the plan during his State of the Union address last week, arguing that America must begin preparing its citizens for the new, high-tech economy at the "earliest possible age."
Obama argued most middle-class parents cannot afford a few hundred dollars a week for private preschool and that poor children, who need help the most, could be at a disadvantage "for the rest of their lives" as a result of not having access to such education.
Though the cost of the program remains unclear, the president is arguing money invested now in high-quality early education will in fact save Americans by increasing graduation rates and reducing teen pregnancy and violent crime.
However, critics argued the country is already roughly $16 trillion in debt and point to a Department of Health and Human Services study that shows limited benefits after third grade for those enrolled in preschools under the $7 billion Head Start program.
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