February 14th, 2013
04:25 PM ET

Obama touts preschools in Georgia: 'This isn't baby-sitting'

By Tom Cohen, CNN

(CNN) - For a second straight day, President Barack Obama touted proposals from his State of the Union address at a campaign-style event outside of Washington, this time visiting a Georgia preschool where youngsters still on winter break showed up to mimic a regular day.

Obama's visit to the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, in the city of Decatur just outside Atlanta, followed his call in Tuesday night's speech to Congress for investments in high-quality early childhood education programs.

The president spent time in a classroom where he hugged some students - who told him they saw him on television - and praised the teachers he said were giving their students a boost into the educational system.

"This isn't baby-sitting," he said. Children who take prekindergarten classes are more likely to read at their grade level, graduate from high school and hold a job down the road - but fewer than 30% of 4-year-olds are enrolled in prekindergarten programs like those at College Heights, he said.

"Hope is found in what works. This works. We know it works," he said. "If you are looking for a good bang for your educational buck, this is it right here. That's why, even in times of tight budgets, states like Georgia and Oklahoma have worked to make a preschool slot available for nearly every parent who is looking for one for their child."

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Filed under: Early childhood education • Politics • Preschool
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. ingrid818

    Pre-kindergarten is NOT babysitting. My child goes to a Pre-k class and knows how to do some simple math, write some simple words, understands a little of geography (can point to north america on a map, knows where NYC is), and other things. Pushing this program is a good thing and I just cannot believe there are people out there who see this as a negative...

    February 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Joyce

      In Alabama where I live there is not a spot for every parent to place there child in pre-school. When my Granddaughter was ready for 4k preschool. The school she was to attend had a drawing to see what children could attend, there were 9 boys and 9 girls that could attend. Leaving quite a lot to have to register their children in private child/care 4k programs. Which cost them quite a bit more than what they were going to pay in a public school. Education is great for our children but It should be for all children not just a certain group. IT SHOULD BE EDUCATION FOR ALL. There parents (working) that sacrifice to pay for pre-school to give their children a good start. It isn't right if the opportunity itsn't given to all children.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Shaun

    And if they don't end up graduating high school just put them on welfare and food stamps!!!! That way everybody wins!!!!!

    February 19, 2013 at 3:34 am |
  3. Former Teacher

    If the Republicans do not handle this issue with tact and start criticizing public schools in general instead of pointing to individual problems, they will put themselves at a great disadvantage in 2014.


    February 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  4. Micah

    The cost of Pre-school for my daughter is $1200 per month. Plus extracurricular activities. On average I spend )$1400-$1500. I make well over $160k per year and thus can afford these costs. This issue is not about dead beat parents. That is simply a ridiculous strawman Limbaugh propaganda styled ignorant argument. The reality is many HARD WORKING parents cannot afford quality Pre-school, and thus they must put their children in daycare. These programs are there to assist those people to give them access to Pre-school. Yes, there may be a unemployed parent that also uses the system, but so what!!! The good that this system will provide us far outweighed by the fact that a few may take advantage of it. Even then, the real consequence will be children of undeserving parents that have a head start on NOT being "dead beats" themselves.

    February 15, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  5. FUCNN

    Sorry YoMama but day care is exactly what these are right up there with public schools moron.

    February 15, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  6. LIbertyGuy

    Sorry YoMama but day care is exactly what these are right up there with public schools moron.

    February 15, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  7. dave

    Economic war with Iran, North Korea threatening us with nuclear missles. Our Fiat economy is based on fake stimulus dollars flooding the stockmarket which will soon collapse along with the est of the EU.
    Obama is worried about more babysitting time for welfare mothers so they can spend more time alone and watching television.
    This president has gone off the chain since re-election and isn't even pretending to do what is necessary to save our country.

    February 15, 2013 at 5:07 am |
    • Liz

      Must be easy to criticize the president's job. The president has to address every single category of issues, from our educational system (and every step of it) to international affairs. How hypocritical are we to judge someone in whose position we will never be. I suppose if you knew it would be your turn to run the country after Obama, you might not be so quick to judge.

      February 20, 2013 at 6:33 am |
      • leonardo

        @Liz, President Obama is supposed to be a leader of this country. Go look up what leaders of companies do and see how far off Obama is from accomplishing goals. We don't always point the finger but how far in debt is a president supposed to go. Clinton was the last president to lessen the debt during term. Nowadays we are a feel sorry for the welfare recipients over supporting the middle class worker. Illegal immigrants who are one of the top economy "wreckers" are actually being supported over those who lost their jobs to them. A hungry man will do any job to feed his family. THERE ARE NO JOBS AMER ICANS CAN"T DO, just jobs that are not worth taking because welfare pays better so the illegal immigrants fills those roles.GET RID OF WELFARE OBAMA. Make these citizens get off their butts and work the fields for a change. Gotta start somewhere.

        February 20, 2013 at 7:52 am |
  8. I Am Butters

    King Obama simply wants to ensure the indoctrination of young children into the liberal mindset.

    February 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Jenna

      ooh. yeah. like the alphabet and the names of colors and how to count. purely liberal mindset ideas.

      February 15, 2013 at 12:15 am |
  9. Melanie

    If mom's would stay home and take the time to teach their children they wouldn't need pre-school or a baby-sitter. I never went to pre-school, was home schooled and graduated before i turned 16 i'm just one of many examples.

    February 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • No_1_U_Know

      You did all of that and did not learn proper grammar, capitalization or punctuation. But, you graduated at the top of your class.

      February 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • How_boutthat

        Your comment made my day!

        February 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • Nathan

        That was a perfect "ha!" moment.

        February 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Jenna

      it would be nice is parents or some other responsible party could be at home with children, but sorry, the world has marched on and children of single parents need to work (so that they aren't just "takers" remember?) and often even in two parent households both parents need to work outside the home. the answer is quality child care and quality schooling.

      February 15, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Michael Dorn

      You want mothers to stay at home? Then I suppose you support raising the minimum wage high enough so that a family can support itself with only one parent working. I suppose you support welfare so that single parents can stay at home.
      Or not.
      I'm guessing, from your wishy washy comment, that you're completely unaware that most American families can't afford to have one parent stay at home.

      February 15, 2013 at 6:43 am |
  10. Mr. DeShon

    Is Obama really the worst president ever,once again, because he wants kids to get an earlier education? I guess he's outta control spending all our money&our grandchildren's money. He is a fake!A liar! A evil man in disguise! He wasnt born here! Really? The GoP wonder why they are about to become obsolete,& if the Democrats do something incredibily dumb so they can bounce back then, I am denouncing them too & registering Independent! It is time to let go of all dummies in our governing bodies. Starting with the truely dumbest party in our history...republicans.

    February 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Jimmy lewis

      i think you are the real stupid Mr. Deshon.
      look at china now its because they invest in children, education.
      the president is right if you are against him i guess that you are against usa too.

      February 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Doodlebug2222

      Actually – he is correct. I have five children who did not go to preschool and was not in environments such as this to better understand how to socialize and be around other adults. I regret this.

      You think you are doing what is best for them – but I had neighbors kids come over that had been to preschool and sit with my children. They were very familiar with study time, how to quiet themselves and focus on their assignments, was better at reading and other skills and honestly – had less fear of being away from home. If I could do it again I would put them into preschool, which looking at the word PRE... explains much of the why. It is an introduction to what they will be facing for a very long time.. an easing in... not a quick drop into the pool > hope you learn to swim ... or hope you learn to not sink.. too fast.

      February 14, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • PeterC

      I think Andy M should read your post....it is little wonder that the US is falling behind other developed and developing countries on the education scale. It is axiomatic that a successful educational journey begins with a sound early childhood base. Everyyhing Obama does will always be wrong..Andy M needs to develop his own mind as his bigotry is very obvious.

      February 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  11. krehator

    Yes it is. Expensive baby sitting.

    February 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • AndyM

      Exactly it is. Its another way for him to continue his socialist ideals and wants. Provide more childcare for deadbeats, who shouldn't have been having children to begin with.

      I cannot understand what is the huge fight/issue here? IF you want to do something about all these children, people should just stop having them, if they cannot afford them. THAT will solve the problem and NO ONE will be forced to come out with anymore dumb ideas about preschool, childcare, healthcare, et al.

      February 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
      • Nathan

        You think that dumb people will stop having dumb babies? That will never happen, so maybe it would be better to teach the dumb peoples' babies how to function in society.

        February 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
      • Jenna

        Every child needs quality schooling, not just children of deadbeats, so I don't really understand your beef.

        February 15, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • bh

        "Et al." stands for "et alii" which means "and others". It refers to people. It is much less commonly used as an abbreviation for "et alibi" which means "and elsewhere. I think you meant "et cetera" (etc.). Maybe if you had gone to preschool, you'd know the difference between the two.

        Also, in your first sentence it should be "it's" not "its." "Its" is possessive, "it's" means "it is". The start of your second paragraph is a statement, but you posed it as a question. Again, preschool/education would have solved these issues.

        February 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Jenna

      It's always babysitting, until it's your kid. Then you want nurturing, encouraging, teaching, challenging, monitoring, facilitating, loving, fostering, caring etc. etc. etc. In this country, remember it is teachers who are supposed to _______ (fill in the blank with any problem that people blame on teachers' failure). The work of teachers goes way beyond the scope of babysitting. I am sorry you didn't have better teachers–if you had, you would know that.

      February 15, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  12. empresstrudy

    Just make school start at an earlier age. Just make them spend more time in class per year. Obama has finally answered his own question.

    February 14, 2013 at 5:42 pm |