Four years after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine made the promise of free preschool to all Virginia 4-year-olds a centerpiece of his campaign, the three men competing for the Democratic nomination have revived the pledge, saying they believe the state should one day provide early education to all children, The Washington Post reports.
Kaine (D) struggled with the ambitious promise through his term, stymied by falling state revenue and a Republican-controlled House of Delegates eager to deny him a political victory. In 2007, he scaled back his $300 million plan to offer free preschool to the state’s 100,000 4-year-olds, instead offering to include 17,000 more low-income children in an existing program for at-risk children. He ultimately succeeded in winning $22 million in new funding from the General Assembly, enough for about 4,030 new students to enter the program.
Despite continued gloomy economic forecasts and no guarantee of a friendlier legislature next year, interest in the expansion of publicly funded early education has not waned…
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