Mo. Gov. examines ways to grow Mo. preschool programs

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Studies show that kids who go to preschool are much more likely to succeed in the classroom through high school. But according to the Early Childhood Education Commission, only 15 percent of all preschool aged children in Kansas City actually go to preschool.

On Thursday, the Commission will meet with Governor Jay Nixon at the Kauffman Foundation to discuss their ideas on how to get more children in Kansas City enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs.

There is a push nationwide to get all children between the ages of 3 and 5 enrolled in a preschool program. In fact, President Obama wants to set aside $75 billion dollars to pay for universal preschool to all four year olds from low to moderate income families. But there are challenges to this proposal, like finding more preschool teachers and more facilities to run the additional preschool programs.

It is expensive to send your child to preschool, which is why many parents choose not to enroll their kids in early childhood education programs. But Commission members say it costs more when a child is not ready for school since they are more likely to drop out and depend on government programs to provide for them, which makes early education even more important.

“Parents are the single best provider of this program that we are talking about,” said Early Childhood Development Program Chair, Herb Kohn. “Not all parents are able or willing to give their kids this kind of training that is required and as you know, they say 80 percent of a child’s process and learning abilities come before the age of five, in fact, some say before the age of three.”

The next step for the Commission is trying to figure out how to provide more affordable preschool programs to Kansas City families and get more kids enrolled without necessarily depending on government money to pay for it.

Thursday’s meeting at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center is open to the public.
It’s scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. while Governor Nixon is expected to arrive at 9:30.

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