President Obama calls for universal preschool education


POSTED: Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 11:15pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 15, 2013 - 10:07am

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Obama told America he wants to guarantee high-quality, preschool education for all children across the country.

Today, he made a stop in Georgia, where he visited an Early Childhood Learning Center in an Atlanta suburb. Later, he addressed a crowd and rallied support for his plan.

"Let's make sure none of our kids start out at the race of life already a step behind. Let's make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality, early education," said the President.

President Obama wants all children from low- and moderate-income families to be able to enroll in preschool programs so they don't fall behind later on.

Next, he wants to expand home visiting programs so nurses, social workers, and other professionals can connect parents to services that will help them get involved with their child's education, and improve the student's health and ability to learn.

Dr. Blanca Enriquez is the Region 19 Head Start Program -- an early childhood education and development program in El Paso for low-income families. She thinks the President's plan is long overdue.

"It is better to invest in the onset of education rather than try at the end of the child's educational career when at times, it is probably too late already," said Dr. Enriquez.

Like the President's proposal, the program also believes in empowering parents by providing them with the proper resources to become involved.

"An educated parent, an involved parent, is able to not only guide the child, but support the child in terms of their choices," said Dr. Enriquez.

Claudia Chavez' two children are graduates of Head Start. Now, she works for the program, and says her children profit from what they learned here every day.

"My daughter is a straight-A student. My little one, he's in first grade, he's in the Honor Roll also. They love to read. They come out very social. It was just beneficial," she said. "You start them early, you build that foundation, and as they get older, they are able to use all that knowledge. They just do a lot better."

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