President Joe Biden called for universal pre-kindergarten (pre-k) in his State of the Union address Tuesday.
Biden highlighted the importance of providing a pre-school education for all 3 and 4-year-olds in order to create the “best-educated workforce” in his State of the Union address. Students who attend pre-k are about 50% more likely to earn their high school diploma and to receive either their associate or bachelor’s degree, Biden said.
“If you want America to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to pre-school for 3-and 4-year-olds,” Biden said. “Studies show that children who go to pre-school are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a 2- or 4-year degree, no matter their background.”
Biden also called for raises to public school teachers’ salaries and better education-career pathways for students graduating high school. (RELATED: Here’s How Much Pandemic Learning Loss Is Costing School Districts)
“When we made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated, best-prepared nation in the world,” Biden said. “But the world has caught up. Jill, who teaches full-time, has an expression: ‘Any nation that out-educates us will out-compete us.'”
The President’s push for universal pre-k comes as students across the country suffer historic learning loss; since 2019 every state has seen a decline in its students’ math scores as fourth and eighth-grade students recorded the largest drops ever. Between 2020 and 2022, the nation’s reading scores showed the largest recorded drop, falling in line with numbers from 1990, while math scores fell for the first time.
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