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November 24, 2007

Senate File 3: Subsidized Early Childhood Education

Sponsors:
Senators Tarryl L. Clark, LeRoy A. Stumpf, Terri E. Bonoff, Kathy L. Saltzman, and Gen Olson

Summary:
Senate File 3 provides an income-based allowance to families for the enhancement and enrichment of young children’s “physical, educational, artistic, or musical development.” Parents would be allowed to use the money to place six-month to five-year-old children in “research-based learning preparedness activities” or classes and programs that enrich their development.

Status:

1/4/2007(Senate) Introduction and first reading
1/4/2007(Senate) Referred to Education
1/16/2007(Senate) Withdrawn and re-referred to Finance Committee
9/11/2007(Senate) Third reading passed
9/11/2007(House) Received from Senate
9/11/2007(House) Senate file first reading
9/11/2007(House) Rules suspended, urgency declared
9/11/2007(House) Second reading
9/11/2007(House) Third reading
9/11/2007(House) Bill was passed
9/11/2007(Senate) Returned from House
9/12/2007Signed by Governor

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.

Proponents of the bill believe that this program benefits children and their parents by providing them with subsidized early childhood education. However, studies show that these types of programs are more costly and less beneficial than the bill’s supporters would have you believe. Furthermore, and of more concern, is that this bill, if passed, may provide the groundwork for passage of universal preschool legislation, i.e. publicly funded preschool education for children 3 to 5 years of age. Universal preschool has been used in as a strategy by proponents in other states to pave the way for attempts at mandatory universal preschool—essentially the lowering of the compulsory age of attendance. These cases have failed so far, but only because of citizens' alert and resolute action.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

 Other Resources

Bill Text