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Idaho is one of 10 states that doesn't offer public preschool, although two of those states are currently experimenting with pilot programs.Idaho lawmakers have long wrestled over whether to provide a public education to preschool-aged children. Idaho's conservative majority has resisted.But now, the debate could be revived because a freshman Democratic lawmaker has begun working on a plan to implement public pre-k.

Idaho Would Get $20 Million Under President Obama's Plan To Expand Preschool

President Obama Kindergarten Class
Pete Souza
The White House Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama’s proposal to expand early childhood education could bring nearly $20 million to Idaho the first year. The president has been talking about increasing access to pre-kindergarten education for months and has proposed raising tobacco taxes to pay for it.

This week, the White House released details of the plan including a state-by-state breakdown. It estimates Idaho would get $19.5 million the first year to provide preschool to about 2,380 low income children. But the state would be expected to cover 10 percent of the bill, $1.9 million. Idaho is one of only ten states that currently provides no state funding for pre-kindergarten.

Obama’s proposal estimates another $6.9 million for Idaho the first year the state takes part in a support program for poor families. It includes home visits with nurses, social workers and parent educators.

The plan the White House is calling "Preschool For All" would also increase grants for the federal Early Head Start program to provide child care to poor families. It’s expected to face intense opposition in Congress.

Find more stories in our series on preschool in Idaho at these links:

Map: Idaho Is One Of 10 States Without Public Preschool

State Of Idaho Lags On Preschool, Districts Lead

Idaho School Districts Take On Public Preschool Without State Funding

Why Caldwell Might Represent The Future Of Public Preschool In Idaho

Idaho Opposition To Public Preschool Is About Money And Ideology

Why One Idaho Republican Became An Unlikely Champion For Public Preschool

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