Voluntary Preschool bill killed
The House Education Committee voted 8-7 to kill the bill. While supporters called it a simple step toward voluntary preschool standards, opponents said they glimpsed a future of mandatory, school-based programs.Read it all here at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Supporters described the bill as a first step toward providing high-quality early childhood education in a state that has a large percentage of mothers of young children in the work force. They also said private preschool programs would have the option of meeting the accreditation standards, and parents would have the option of sending their children to preschool.
Opponents said the standards could drive some private preschool programs out of business by raising the cost to meet guidelines and hire certified teachers. They also said they were concerned that a voluntary program now would become mandatory in the future.
Rep. Tom Hackl, R-Hoven, said voluntary might be a fluid thing. Veteran legislators remember when kindergarten was always going to be voluntary, he said.The Legislature last year passed a bill making kindergarten mandatory in 2010.