From EAG News:
INDIANAPOLIS – Immigration activists are crying foul because illegal immigrants do not qualify for a state-run preschool pilot program, or an Indianapolis preschool program sponsored by Mayor Greg Ballard.
Last Friday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan decided to speak out about the situation.
“Indiana is rightfully proud of its steps to expand preschool programs and elevate quality, but it’s shortsighted and wrong to deny children educational opportunity from the starting line because of their immigration status – especially children who are clearly here through no fault of their own,” Duncan said in a press statement Friday.
“There is no better bang for our buck educationally than preschool, and we need more children in America getting an early start – not fewer,” he continued. “Nothing in federal law requires state or local preschool programs to exclude any child from participation on the basis of their immigration status, and doing so just doesn’t make sense.”
Indiana officials seem to disagree.
U.S. citizenship is required for the state’s other early childhood programs because of funding requirements, and applying the same criteria to the new state-sponsored On My Way preschool pilot program “maintains consistency,” Indiana Family and Social Services spokesman Jim Gavin told Chalkbeat.
“The Child Care and Development Fund and Early Education Matching Grant programs also require that the eligible child be a citizen,” he said.
Beth Stroh, United Way of Central Indiana administrator for Indianapolis’ preschool program also said limited eligibility was a funding issue.
“I don’t think that…