Iowa House Republicans voted down efforts again tonight to continue Iowa’s voluntary preschool program for 20,000 kids.

“House Republicans are putting up more obstacles for parents who want to make sure their kids get the best education possible instead of providing new jobs and opportunities for middle class families,” said Rep. Nate Willems, who has two young children and is Ranking Member of the House Education Committee.  “Dismantling Iowa’s statewide preschool initiative for 20,000 four year olds will reduce access to both public and private preschools for all families while giving parents no guarantee of even having a teacher with a degree in early childhood education.”

“With parents trying to enroll their kids in preschool right now for next fall, thousands of Iowa kids will be left out if statewide preschool ends next year,” said Rep. Janet Petersen of Des Moines, whose son will be in preschool next fall.   “We should not take steps backwards on preschool.  It has strong support from business leaders, educators, and parents.  A quality preschool helps grow a highly-skilled workforce and saves the state money in the long run.”

The debate over preschool in Iowa started two months ago when Republicans first voted to end Iowa’s statewide preschool initiative. The bill, House File 535, was approved on a 54-44 vote and faces an uncertain future in the Iowa Senate, which voted to preserve Iowa’s preschool initiative earlier this year.