That’s what state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, said could be the outcome of his proposed legislation.
S. 834, which will be taken up in the upcoming January session of the Senate, would offer the 2013 K-4 expansion in only certain regions of the state to all at-risk children and then later to all children statewide. The regions that received the K-4 expansion included the state’s Corridor of Shame.
Under the proposed legislation, the program would be available for the 2015-2016 school year. The bill would create a statewide, universal K-4 program by 2010, according to its language.
“In states that have a universal four-year-old kindergarten, we see a readiness to learn by those children as they come into first grade … and long-term achievement,” Sheheen said. “Education is at the root of the problems that we have (in the state).”
The previous expansion cost the state $26 million, but the additional expense could be paid for by cutting government waste, Sheheen said. The likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate pointed to redundant state offices and increases to the current governor’s staff’s salaries.
“The question is simply one of priorities,” Sheheen said. He added that such a bill could also “end the cycle” of poor learning and diminished economic opportunities for at-risk children growing up.