'Preschool for All': Obama Plan Faces Challenges

Experts weigh the short-term and long-term costs of expanding Pre-K.
2:17 | 02/20/13

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Transcript for 'Preschool for All': Obama Plan Faces Challenges
Last week President Obama called for publicly funded pre school to be available to every American child. And now and -- -- Education Department commission is recommending that happen within ten years ABC's Devin Dwyer reports on the president's plan and what it could mean for kids. Preschool for all is a simple idea like -- your food groups me. Giving every American child free access to classrooms like this one in Atlanta. Is a bold new plan not just baby -- -- not just child care we are really getting children ready. For the next step in their education. One in three youngsters in the US don't get that chance. Prompting President Obama to propose expanding the nation's public education system to help them you're looking for a good bang for your educational buck. This is that right here. The plan could cost up to ten point five billion dollars per year by one estimate it's a bill Obama says should be split between the federal government and states. It's expensive I mean honestly it is it's. When you're talking about young children you have to have very different ratios than you do in and K through twelve education. Many of the nation's top economists including several here at the University of Chicago say the cost is worth it. Preschool for all especially low income kids can mean big savings for taxpayers down the road. We get a return of seven cents on the dollar for each year. -- beat up front investment. Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman says skip been pre K by kids from poor families comes at the cost to -- for going reduce crime. -- healthier society a society that's more engaged in the sense of earnings. Employment and so port. So that's where the economic return companies. Only five states offer preschool for all children. Several have struggled to meet their goals in Georgia 8000 kids are on a waiting list the State's high school graduation rate remains one of the lowest in the nation. Universal pre -- is is more difficult to do because. You opening up till larger group of children -- and so that requires more funding. The wish that may see more pipe dream impossibility. -- advocates insist universal preschool still stands a chance Devin Dwyer ABC news Atlanta.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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