Mar 15, 2022 - News

State's plan for new agency and free preschool clouded by questions

Illustration of abstract children's blocks 

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Colorado is barreling forward on a plan to create a new state department for early childhood education and launch universal preschool even though fundamental questions remain unanswered.

State of play: The plans are outlined in a 485-page bill making its way through the state legislature.

  • Advocates say it will bring greater attention to early childhood issues and significantly expand preschool access, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.

Yes, but: The reimagining of the state's early childhood system is moving with such urgency, it's raising concerns about how to serve students with special needs and whether the state can find enough preschool providers to meet the new demands.

  • The planning process was plagued by "some blind spots and some missteps" by the state, said Scott Smith, the chief financial and operating officer for the Cherry Creek school district.

What they're saying: Angela Fedler, who leads several early childhood programs in the Delta County School District, added: "I love the idea of universal preschool. I believe in the idea of universal preschool. I do have some fears around it as well."

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