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Poll: Pass or Fail -- Should New Jersey Expand Pre-Kindergarten Availability?

Is it time to offer public preschool to children and families in districts statewide?

New Jersey's public preschool services -- both where they are offered and where they aren’t -- garnered attention this week when a state Senate committee held a hearing on the issue with top educators and stakeholders.

On the table was the prospect of expanding preschool beyond the current public programs in the state's neediest cities, as well as addressing other early-education needs. But the potential expansion raises plenty of questions, starting with how to pay for it.

Should New Jersey be exploring an expansion of public preschool?

  • Yes. We must find a way to make preschool available to all children. What we will gain long-term in providing quality education in those first years will more than make up for the cost.

  • Universal preschool is a worthy goal, but the state is in a financial crunch. Not all districts have full-day kindergarten. Maybe that's what should be addressed first.

  • We already have pre-K for Abbott school districts, and that's where it is needed the most. Do we need to take a blanket approach for every district? Can’t we be flexible and first do a careful evaluation of what's needed where. I think we should be cautious, before we create more legislative unfunded mandates.

  • New Jersey public schools already have way too much money. We have far bigger priorities than adding to programs where the long-term benefits are hardly certain.

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