Obama: Put Nation's 4-Year-Olds in ‘Public Preschool;' Will Save on ‘Child-Care Costs'

April 10, 2013 - 11:18 AM

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) - In the message he issued along with his budget proposal on Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama said he wants to see 4-year-old children in the United States enrolled in public schools.

Obama said America needs to start enrolling 4-year-olds to make sure the children are “better prepared for the demands of the global economy” and to help parents save on "child-care costs."

After saying the United States needs to “equip our citizens with the skills and training” to fill jobs in manufacturing, energy and infrastructure, Obama said, “And that has to start at the earliest possible age.”

Too few American 4-year-olds are enrolled in school, the president argued.

“But today, fewer than 3 in 10 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program, and the high cost of private preschool puts too much of a financial burden on middle class families,” he said.

“The Budget therefore includes a proposal that ensures 4-year-olds across the country have access to high-quality preschool education through a landmark new initiative in partnership with the States,” Obama said. “And it increases the availability of early learning for our youngest children to help their growth and development during the formative early years of life.

“Providing a year of free, public preschool education for 4-year-old children is an important investment in our future,” said Obama. “It will give all our kids the best start in life, helping them perform better in elementary school and ultimately helping them, and the country, be better prepared for the demands of the global economy.:

Obama argued that in addition to preparing 4-year-olds for the global economy, sending them to public preschool would also be a form of government-funded babysitting for parents.

“Not only that, it could save hard-working families thousands of dollars each year in child care costs,” said Obama. “This is an investment we need to make, and it is fully paid for in this Budget by imposing a new tax on every pack of cigarettes sold.’

In 2011, according to the CDC, 40.7 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried women.