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Charters and Choice

How can we give students options when their public schools are failing them?


Candidate Perspectives

College Access

College: Can't afford not to go, can't afford to go...


Candidate Perspectives


The Dropout Dilemma

What are the real costs of dropping out?


Candidate Perspectives

No Child Left Behind

What exactly is NCLB and how is it effecting our education system?


Pros and Cons

What's Next?

Candidate Perspectives

Early Childhood Education

How do we ensure that all children are prepared to enter kindergarten?


In Focus: Head Start

Candidate Perspectives


Why are we struggling to recruit and retain teachers? What reforms do the candidates propose to solve the teacher shortage and improve their working conditions?


Candidate Perspectives


With a struggling economy, should lawmakers place further emphasis on federally-funded school-to-work programs? Moreover, do they work?


Candidate Perspectives


What do the Candidates say about Early Childhood Education?

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  Barack Obama  

Zero to Five Plan: “His comprehensive ‘Zero to Five’ Plan will provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year [to the following programs]”:

  • Home visit programs for low income and first-time mothers, where nurses are available to provide advice and assist families.
  • Encourages all states to provide voluntary universal preschool for 3-4 year olds.

Head Start:

  • Increase all Head Start funding and improve quality, including that of Early Head Start, via expansion/creation of regional training centers.


  • Fund Early Learning Challenge Grants, which will provide care and educational programs for pregnant women.
  • Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and enabling low-income families to receive up to a 50% credit for childcare expenses.
  • Improve Child Care Quality via teacher training, professional development and developing quality rating systems for childcare.

Hilary Clinton


Voluntary Universal Pre-K: She proposes an initial allocation of $5 billion per year, which will be increased to $10 billion per year as state commitment increases.

  • State run preschool for all four year olds.
  • Subsidize the cost for low-income families.
  • Ensure quality care by teacher training and development, using age appropriate curriculum, low student-teacher ratios, monitoring health and safety.

Quality Child Care and Head Start:

  • Increase funding to Head Start.
  • Work with existing community based programs.

Nurse home visitation programs to help new parents develop parenting skills

  John McCain  

While McCain has not openly discussed his views on early childhood education, it is clear from other statements on education that there are certain aspects he would support, such as:

  • Allowing parents to be active in choosing what program would be most beneficial to their child’s education.
  • Create a system for holding preschool programs accountable for their results.

Based on his goals of international competitiveness and school accountability, we recommend that John McCain develop a solid early childhood education plan in accordance with his other beliefs. A strong preschool program would provide a foundation for children and make them more successful in the international sphere.


Return to Early Childhood Education overview

Return to In Focus: Head Start