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Teacher, Southern Arizona political leaders react to Biden’s universal Pre-K plan

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TUCSON (KVOA) - As part of his American Families Plan, President Joe Biden wants to provide Universal Pre-K for all three and four-year-olds.

The plan still needs to get through Congress, but on Tuesday, News 4 Tucson heard how southern Arizonans feel about this.

A democratic state senator from Tucson is pushing for this plan.

She said it is vital for kids and their families, however, the Pima County GOP chair said it's not her first choice.

It's a priority of president Biden's American Families Plan, spending $200 billion to provide universal preschool for three and four-year-olds.

The plan has a supporter in State Senator Victoria Steele of Tucson.

"It does so much to prepare them for the world and long term," Steele said. "We know that kids that get a good strong start at age three and four, have a much better outcome down the line."

Pima County GOP Chairwoman Shelley Kais argues that a parent should be their child's first teacher at that age.

"There's nothing more important than a parent's touch and a parent's ability to teach their child at the ages of three and four," Kais said.

Kais argues that we need higher paying jobs so a parent can have the choice to stay home and teach their children.

"I'm supportive of children being home with their parents when they are infants and toddlers and if necessary, attending a preschool program but that would not be my first choice," Kais said. "It wasn't for my children and it wouldn't be for anyone else's."

One elementary school teacher says preschool is invaluable.

"As a third-year teacher, I can see the kids who receive pre-k are light years ahead of the other kids who weren't as fortunate," Beth Lewis, an elementary school teacher said. "And, so, it just shouldn't be that way. I think it should be a right for all children."

"This is a once-in-a-generation investment of the foundations of middle-class prosperity, education, health care and childcare," Steele said.

The American Families Plan also provides 12-weeks of paid family and medical leave.

This plan still has to get through both houses of Congress before it gets to Biden's desk.

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Eric Fink

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