With Pennsylvania lawmakers scrambling to deal with a major revenue shortfall, it's unlikely that Gov.-elect Ed Rendell's ambitious early-childhood education program will make much headway in 2003. But a little extra time spent crafting this program might make a big difference in how well it works.
Rendell's program would cost $100 million and would provide preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, with admissions priority going to children from low-income families.
Kindergarten would be made available to all 5-year-olds and all-day kindergarten would be offered in those school districts where it would be most likely to improve children's performance in first grade.
But even assuming that there's state money available for these programs, a couple of important questions need to be answered, including: