The White House said that Ohio would receive $103 million in federal dollars during the first year if Congress approves President Barack Obama’s plan to provide preschool for every 4-year-old child in the country.
In a conference call Tuesday with reporters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that Obama’s plan is “one of the best investments we can make in our children, our families and ultimately the nation.’’
The call was part of a stepped up effort to press Congress to approve the 10-year program that would finance pre-school expansion by raising billions of dollars with an increase in the cigarette tax. But there is little sign that the Republican-controlled House is ready to approve such a tax to expand pre-school.
Obama urged the creation of an alliance between the federal and state governments to provide low-and-moderate income 4-year-olds with preschool. Combined with Head Start, which provides low-income 3-and-4-year olds with preschool, Obama’s plan would give millions of children access to pre-kindergarten education.
The White House said that if Ohio agreed to kick in $10.3 million, the federal and state money would provide preschool during the first year to 12,628 children from low-and-moderate-income families in the state.
“Too many children, especially those living in low income neighborhoods, are starting school unprepared,’’ Linda Smith, a senior official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said on the call.