By targeting preschool dollars to children living near low-performing schools, California Gov. Schwarzenegger could help an additional 43,000 at-risk four-year-olds prepare for school. The governor’s plan would cost $50 million in the first year, rising to $145 million. By contrast, Rand researchers estimate Prop. 82 on the June 6 ballot would add 26,000 low-income four-year-olds to preschool school rolls at a cost of $2 billion a year. An estimated 60 to 65 percent of four-year-olds already attend preschool; under Prop. 82, which is not means-tested, a majority of new enrollees are expected to come from middle-class and upper-middle-class families. The governor’s program doesn’t means test either, but most children living in the attendance areas of schools that score in the bottom 30 percent statewide come from low-income and non-English-speaking families.
Go to Reason’s web site for links to research studies and to Lisa Snell’s anti-82 radio appearances.