Ed. note: Inside Pre-K "blogger emeritus" Sophia Pappas—who was inspired to public service by John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and later became a pre-k teacher—sent in this post from her new perch at Harvard's Kennedy School.
When is John McCain going to tell Americans what he would do to make quality pre-kindergarten accessible to all families?
McCain adviser Virginia Walden Ford, guestblogging at Eduwonk this week, gave the McCain campaign's most substantial nod yet to early childhood education, but the bar had been set pretty low. She wrote:
John McCain believes a child’s education begins at day one, and the schools and centers that support early learning must be nothing less than excellent. Attention must be focused on providing access to high quality care and education in all programs serving our youngest children with particular emphasis on high quality preschool for low-income students.
Just as we have focused our attention for the past decade on the quality of K-12, McCain will look to create the same information and database for our early care and school readiness programs.
Statements like these raise hopes that McCain will offer a proposal to invest more federal dollars in quality pre-k. Perhaps his running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, will encourage him to do so. Federal pre-k incentives could help Alaska start a state-funded pre-k program, and Palin has proposed increasing her state's investment in Head Start.
But, if the advice of a running mate cannot convince McCain, the smart politics of backing voluntary pre-k for all should.