The proposed bill on expanding affordable childcare complements the proposal we made last year to create a universal public preschool system for 4-year-olds. . . .Today, half of our toddlers, about 20,000 statewide, have no access to childcare or preschool programs. By the end of this decade, we want to eliminate that gap, whether it’s through our pre-K classrooms, private preschools, or the proposed Learning to Grow centers. By the end of the decade, we want every 3- and 4-year-old in Hawaiʻi to have the opportunity to attend a childcare or preschool.
Instead of asking working parents to bring their toddlers to us, let’s bring these services to them, whether it’s in community centers, in condominium buildings, or suburban shopping malls. Instead of trying to do all of this with just taxpayer dollars, why not leverage those funds through partnerships with private and nonprofit groups? Everything, including our future, begins with how well we educate our children. And that is significantly affected by the kind of beginnings we provide them.