Rep. Hy Kloc, D-Boise, was upbeat this morning after the House Education Committee agreed to introduce his bill for a preschool pilot program, after hearing his 45-minute presentation about the bill. “It was actually great – it gave me an opportunity really explain the bill,” Kloc said, and to address questions and objections about it. Kloc said he felt he made a good case that the bill lines up with several of the education improvement task force recommendations, including one regarding literacy.
Some lawmakers wanted to know why there’s a need for preschool and whether it isn’t really just a family thing, he said. “I agree it is a family thing, but the families that work two or three jobs just to make ends meet have little time to work with their kids on reading and math, things that’ll get them ready for kindergarten.”
The bill would set up pilot preschool classes in five elementary schools across the state; the programs would be voluntary, both for families and for school districts, and 55 percent of the funding would be raised from private sources. Idaho is one of nine states that does not fund pre-K.
There’s no guarantee that the bill will move any further this session; the committee’s vote to introduce it means it’ll be printed and get a bill number, and it clears the way for a full public hearing in the committee – but only if the chairman chooses to schedule one. “I think preschool will come to Idaho eventually,” Kloc said. “Where this goes from here I’m not sure. But our objective was to get it in and printed, just to move it in the right direction, and we did that today.” Idaho Education News has a full report here.