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The Political Future of Public Preschool

Preschool is often touted as a policy issue that transcends the red state-blue state divide. Its champions include New York City’s Democratic mayor, Bill De Blasio, Republican Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama, and former Governor of Georgia Zell Miller, a conservative Democrat. Its appeal has led to spending increases of $2.4 billion and a near doubling of enrollments over the last decade. Will public preschool become the bipartisan issue of the 2016 presidential election? Despite some recent polling to support the advocacy efforts of the First Five Years Fund, the answer is likely, ‘no.’ This is because preschool politics differ between the national and state levels.