Mike DeWine Says He’ll Spend More On Early Childhood Programs

DeWine introducing policy plans for Ohio kids. [Lisa Ryan/ideastream]
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Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine rolled out policy plans for Ohio children Thursday at a YWCA in downtown Cleveland.

DeWine said he’ll increase funding for early childhood programs from $250 million to $400 million and create a new staff position to oversee programs scattered across several state agencies.

“We are not going to have a prosperous and competitive Ohio by trying to fix major social problems after they develop,” said DeWine. “We can only do it by preventing these problems in the first place.”

DeWine didn’t say how he would fund these initiatives, which includes an increase in home visiting services for at-risk, first time mothers. DeWine said he’d make mental health counselors available to all public school kids, citing school safety and youth suicide.

Responding to DeWine’s plan, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Betty Sutton said she and gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray are committed to providing universal pre-K.

“We’ll expand pre-K across the state, so child’s future isn’t determined by zip code and that our schools get the funding they need, so that a K-12 education sets up children for success,” Sutton said.

Policy advocates have said good early childhood education improves long-term outcomes for children. DeWine’s campaign says currently only 20 percent of Ohio programs have a high-quality rating.

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