Though support is growing in Idaho to join the ranks of states that include early-childhood education in their public education systems, many Idaho lawmakers remain philosophically opposed to state-supported pre-school. “Anything that is bringing institutional education to younger children is problematic to me,” said state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. “This is a step removing the children from the household.” Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, agreed. “I’m not in favor of starting kids any earlier,” she said. “Each kid is individual, and each parent is individual, and they need to decide what the kids need.”
At least 40 other states have concluded that learning in the earliest years – before kindergarten – is important enough to make a state priority. In Idaho, Democratic state Rep. Hy Kloc of Boise and GOP state Rep. Doug Hancey of Rexburg are sponsoring legislation to take a baby step toward that. Their bill would create a three-year pilot project that would partially fund five preschool classrooms around the state; the bill hasn’t yet been introduced. You can read my full story here from Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.