Many questions remain about Obama's plan, including what such a program would cost. But Obama specifically referenced Georgia and Oklahoma, two states which make preschool available to every child, as examples of what he wants to accomplish.
“Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America,” Obama said. "In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own. So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
The liberal think tank, Center for American Progress, released its own report days before the president’s speech. CAP’s plan has the federal government partnering with states to subsidize preschool based on income, matching state spending dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 per child for full-day preschool. CAP estimates its plan would cost the federal government $98.4 billion over 10 years, assuming most of the costs would be paid for by states.
According to calculations by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), high-quality preschool education costs an average of $8,000 per child per year. This would make universal preschool for all 4-year-olds about $33 billion per year, and close to $70 billion for all 3- and 4-year-olds – not taking into account existing spending on pre-K.