In Idaho, 1,340 children under the age of three are served by Early Head Start, and 6.5 percent of 3-year-olds and 13 percent of 4-year-olds are served through federal Head Start and special education preschool. However, until this year’s legislative session the state did not fund a state-run pre-K program. Additionally, the average annual cost of center-based infant care in the state is $6,969. The state legislature has made adequate progress in building awareness about the benefits of early childhood education, setting the foundation for moving forward with legislation that would create a pilot pre-K program.
- What’s happening in the legislature: This year, the House Education Committee in Idaho introduced a bill to set up pilot preschool classes in five elementary schools across the state. Representative Hy Kloc championed the bill that would require 55 percent of funding to be raised from private sources, with the remaining funds to come from the state. Several lawmakers in the state showed interest in boosting early childhood education in the state after a presentation for Rep. Kloc.
- What business leaders are saying: Idaho Business for Education, an organization made up of dozens of CEOs showing concern for where Idaho’s education system is headed, has committed to improving early reading among Idaho kids.
- What military leaders are saying: A retired admiral in the U.S. Navy from Boise, Idaho has called for an increased focus on high-quality early childhood education. In support of children getting a strong start in life he stated that, “To build the military of the future, we need to invest in early childhood education today.”