On March 14, 2013, two education experts debated the merits of President Obama’s goal of making preschool available to every child in America, a plan he unveiled in his 2013 State of the Union Address. Grover Whitehurst, a member of Hoover’s Koret Task Force on K–12 Education and the Brown Chair, senior fellow, and director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, went head-to-head with Sara Mead, associate partner at Bellwether Education Partners and former director of the early Education Initiative at the New American Foundation. The debate was moderated by Michael Petrilli, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The event, “Assessing the President’s Preschool Plan,” broadcast live by the Fordham Institute at 10 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, March 14, tackled such questions as: Is universal preschool politically and fiscally feasible—or even educationally necessary? Should we expend federal resources on universal pre-K or target kindergarten-readiness programs for the neediest kids? How robust is the evidence of lasting impacts? And what exactly is the president proposing? A video of the discussion is available here.