Good Schools For All Podcast: Universal Pre-K Is Still Far From a Reality

Education UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Good Schools for All: Universal Pre-K Is Still Far From a Reality

Pre-K is more important than ever, but access to it remains elusive for many parents.

A preschool graduation ceremony at Father Joe’s Villages / Photo by Megan Wood

In this new season of Good Schools For All, we’ll have new podcast episodes every two weeks featuring our new host, Will Huntsberry, and returning host Scott Lewis. Listen to the full episode below. 

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This week, Good Schools for All host Will Huntsberry visited a preschool center that serves mostly low-income families in Chula Vista.

He spoke to the kids and the director of the facility, Susan Holly.

Holly said the increasing academic demand in kindergarten classrooms means pre-K is more important than ever, and can set children up for success by giving them early exposure to new materials while learning how to take instruction from someone who’s not their parent.

Huntsberry also spoke with the folks who run Child Development Associates, which oversees the preschool featured in this episode, as well as two others in the county and a program to provide funding for parents who need help paying for childcare.

Rick Richardson, the CEO, went to a preschool program like the ones he’s running when he was a kid. His mom was a single parent and a preschool teacher herself. She founded CDA in 1974.

Richardson says there’s a huge need for preschool care in San Diego and plenty of eligible parents. Where the region falls short is space and money.

Existing programs are short on resources, and most have few — is any — open slots. Compounding the problem: New preschools aren’t really being built anymore, said Richardson; it’s too expensive.

CDA manages multiple lists for folks waiting to get pre-K. One is for parents waiting to get vouchers to help pay for care. In San Diego County alone, there’s 5,000 kids on that list.

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