Did Governor Pence give up $80m grant for Indiana's neediest preschoolers to appease vocal tea party leader?
The Indianapolis Star today shared through a leaked internal email it received, information detailing Governor Pence’s controversial decision to not apply for an $80 million grant benefiting low-income students attending preschool.
The article implies that Pence’s decision not to apply for federal grant money to help low-income children may be linked to the governor’s future presidential aspirations.
We found an interesting blog post written earlier this week by tea-party leader Heather Crossin demanding Governor Pence withdraw Indiana’s application for the preschool development grant.
Crossin was in the news recently for staging a tea party protest against the Governor at his speech at a Koch brothers summit two months ago.
In her post, while making false comparisons between preschools and daycare programs, Crossin rails against the federal government and the preschool development grant stating that preschools operating out of churches would not meet the quality standards expected for children to learn and noting that teachers at preschools funded by the grant would be overpaid compared to those working at churches and private companies.
Marketing experts know that for many the term “preschool” conjures up a vision of the small, sweet, two-hour program that operates down the street, likely out of a church. However, these are not the types of programs the federal government wishes to increase and for the taxpayers to fund. They’re not considered “high quality” according to the new federal guidelines published for the Preschool Development Grants.
If that stipulation alone doesn’t wipe most private providers out of the picture, the requirement that “instructional staff salaries [be] comparable to the salaries of local K-12 instructional staff” certainly will. In other words, states are being bribed to create new full-day programs that will ultimately squeeze and regulate out of business the many private programs that currently exist.
Then, in another post from yesterday, Crossin gives glowing gratitude to Governor Pence for turning down the $80 million grant (a full day ahead of the Indianapolis Star revelations):
He had the good judgment and courage to walk away from millions of potential federal dollars, by refusing to apply for the federal Preschool Development Grant. May this small victory and the light of hope it shines be a sign of good things for Indiana that are yet to come.
Some have also speculated that the Governor was concerned that by accepting the federal grant, the state’s preschool program couldn’t be folded into Indiana’s controversial school voucher program.
Whatever the backdrop and underlying motivation, one thing is certain: thousands of Indiana’s neediest children will once again pay the price for loyalty to narrow political agendas.