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Education Department Puts Numbers to 'Preschool For All' Proposal

In a continuing effort to whip up support for the Obama administration's proposal to expand preschool opportunities nationwide, the Education Department has released fact sheets for every state letting them know how much they stand to gain if the proposal is adopted.

For example, Alabama would get $43 million under the proposal; North Carolina, $102.2 million. But the numbers come with some caveats.

First, the money would show up only if a state chose to participate in the first place. Some states might choose not to (Hello, Texas!)

Second, the number is based on the state's current population of 4-year-olds in families with incomes at or below 200 percent of poverty level (That's $47,100 for a family of four.) It also assumes that states will expand to 20 percent of their eligible 4-year-olds in the first year, at a per child cost of $9,000, which may or may not be what a state chooses to spend.

And then there's the fact that the preschool proposal has yet to be introduced in Congress. As the Education Department says, "This estimate is designed to be illustrative only..."

However, lawmakers and representatives from some states are responding to the department release, including California, Maine, and Tennessee.

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