Two of Georgia's Gubernatorial Candidates say that the State’s Pre-K program is more important than the Hope Scholarship. Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes spoke to a group of early childhood advocates in Atlanta Tuesday.
Pre-K and Hope scholarships are both funded by the Georgia Lottery. As tuition went up at Georiga's Colleges and Universities, so has the demand for lottery money. But the demand for players is not increasing.
Speaking at the first meeting of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for ready students also known a GEEARS, Nathan Deal said learning at an early age matters. (View video of summit.)
"The Universial Pre-k is probably as important if not more important than keeping the scholarship program at the college level," Deal said.
His opponent in the race for Governor Roy Barnes agreed. "Pre-k is more important than Hope, because it gives us a longer opportunity to improve education."
Early learning experts say the first 5 years of a child’s live are critical for success. GEEARS plans to focus on all aspects of early education in Georgia. One of the groups goal is to convince the business community that an investment in early learning will result in an educated workforce down the road.