Only three states — Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma — have what could be called truly universal programs in that they’re available to all 4-year-olds, regardless of parental income. The three states offer examples of the different ways in which the program’s funding source can affect its future.
The legacy starts early, with an infusion of funding for early childhood programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. When the administration took office in early 2009, the economic crisis had decimated many state budgets, imperiling childcare and preschool funding for hundreds of thousands of children.
Indiana: As lawmakers wade into the issue, they must strike a delicate balance between providing money to expand the program while not ignoring competing interests as they write a new, two-year budget this legislative session. Lawmakers also must juggle expanding the number of scholarship recipients while allowing time for the state to create more spots in high-quality programs.