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Preschool may look like just a few hours of dress-up, snack and storytime, but the early learning gained in preschool is vital to a child's development. Studies show that a strong preschool education translates to higher achievement later, from better test scores to an increased chance of going to college.
That's why President Obama's Preschool for All is exciting. In a call with reporters, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave more details on the plan which was announced earlier this year. The program will give more than a million low- and middle-income 4-year-olds access to education they would not have been able to afford otherwise. Duncan called it "the biggest educational advancement of the 21st century." The plan, a $75 billion over 10 years investment, will be paid for by taxes on cigarette and other tobacco product purchases.
According to the DOE, today less than 3 in 10 kids have access to quality early education; the US is ranked a dismal 28th worldwide in early learning enrollment. "The best way to grow the middle class is education," says Duncan. "Lack of preschool opens up an educational opportunity gap. This will help close the gap and pay huge dividends down the road."