Gov. Polis has brought Colorado full circle from his free preschool promise, to a bizarre new pledge of “universal access.”
Chalkbeat reminds us Polis committed to free, full-day preschool and kindergarten in a candidate questionnaire.
But that’s not what Polis said during his State of the State address last month, when he promised “universal access to quality preschool for 4-year-olds by the end of my first term.”
Asked recently what “universal access” means, he said simply: “It means 4-year-olds can go to preschool.”
But not necessarily for free. “It’s not like kindergarten,” he said. “It takes many forms.”
After a lengthy consultation and interview, this is what Chalkbeat learned from W. Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University: It’s promise that can’t actually be delivered.
“They‘ve promised it to everybody, and then they figure out a way to back off,” he said.
Polis refused to be interviewed by Chalkbeat, Colorado’s all-education news source, to explain his reversal.
Instead, a spokesperson lamely assured that just because the promise hasn’t been delivered, doesn’t mean Polis doesn’t support eventually offering free preschool.
The next time Polis talks about his accomplishment of free, full-day kindergarten — a brag that regularly occurs every other sentence — remind him that promise also included preschool.