Published: February 15. 2013 4:00AM PST
President Barack Obama jokes around with a preschooler at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Ga., on Thursday.
Raising hopes among parents who want preschool for all, Obama on Thursday rolled out a plan to vastly expand government-funded early childhood education while keeping the price tag a secret.
Republicans, wary of high costs and questionable outcomes, made clear they have no intention of signing a blank check.
The White House offered the first details about Obama’s plan Thursday, describing it as a “continuum of high-quality early learning for a child, beginning at birth and continuing to age 5." The government would fund public preschool for any 4-year-old whose family income is 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level — a more generous threshold than the current Head Start program, which generally serves kids from families below 130 percent of the poverty line. All 50 states and the federal government would chip in.
Stephen Crowley / New York Times News Service