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Federal Legislation
February 6, 2009

H.R. 555—Universal Prekindergarten Act

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time. HSLDA is monitoring this legislation and will send out updates as the bill moves through Congress.

H.R. 555 creates a federal early education program for “all children” beginning at age 3. Although the program is voluntary, H.R. 555 pushes early education to a new extreme that goes even further than Barbara Boxer’s recent proposal for early education (S. 206), which is modest in comparison. Rather than proposing early education in the year before kindergarten, this bill would create a government educational program for children ages 3 to 6.

Introduced: 1/15/09: Referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor


Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich

Reps. Maurice D. Hinchey, James P. McGovern, Lynn C. Rep Woolsey

Bill Summary and Status H.R.555:

HSLDA’s Position:

Talking Points

A full-day of academia for 3-year olds: In Section 2 of H.R. 555, Congress declares its intention to influence early child development for children as young as 3 years old. In fact, just like a high schoolers, children enrolled would be expected to participate for a full day and a full-calendar year.

Going far beyond education: H.R. 555 is not limited to educational needs of young children, but expands to “social, emotional, and physical development”—needs that the parents are best qualified to meet, especially for children at such an early age. Although the bill allows for “parental involvement,” it makes no provision for parental oversight or authority over their young children’s upbringing throughout this program, which will last the majority of hours in the day, and the majority of days in the year.

Conclusion: H.R. 555 affronts the need that children have for mothers and fathers to raise and care for them in their early states of development. In the end, “parental involvement” is no substitute for real parenting.

 Other Resources

The Heritage Foundation: “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma”

Cato Institute: “The Poverty of Preschool Promises Saving Children and Money with the Early Education Tax Credit” ( requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)