President Obama to Spotlight Pre-K Program During Visit in Georgia

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-- Valdosta, Ga. -- February 12, 2013 --

Westside Elementary Principal Suzanne Tanner said "I'm very excited that President Obama will be coming to Georgia to look at our pre-k program. We were a trailblazer in the country as far as starting with universal pre-k many years ago."

The president is scheduled to speak at a learning center in Atlanta on Thursday. Despite the success of the pre-k program, budget cuts have caused some of its best teachers to leave for a better pay check.

Jennifer Swain is a former Pre-K teacher. She said "I have bills to pay and a family to care for and that was the choice I had to make. Either stay and make half the money or move elsewhere and make my full salary."

The pre-kindergarten program enrolls about eighty four thousand kids in Georgia. But that doesn't include the thousands more on the waiting list.

Swain went on to say "they're just simply waiting to get in. And a lot of those children have parents that don't have the skills or, you know, the adequate materials to work with them at home. So it would be much more beneficial if they could get a spot in a classroom."

The president is expected to address the lack of space on Thursday with a proposal that would allow more children a chance to go to Pre-K.

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