South Bend Tribune

It was a simple declaration, with no specifics, but for Hoosiers looking for it, it was yet another small sign of momentum toward long overdue change.

Last month, Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb said that he’s “#allIN4preK.”

That hashtag refers to a campaign, All IN 4 Pre-K.

This coalition of Indiana families, community leaders and business leaders is focused on helping Indiana push forward in funding and providing high-quality preschool. The effort is timed with the General Assembly set to work on a two-year budget in the upcoming session. The state’s On My Way Pre-K pilot program currently serves a limited number of children in five counties.

Holcomb’s opponent, Democrat John Gregg, has already expressed his support for pre-K, teaming up with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz to propose a $150 million state-funded preschool proposal that would be available to all Hoosier children.

Advocates for pre-K — who have long realized that early childhood education is a necessity, not a luxury — are finally beginning to see a growing consensus here in Indiana, one of eight states that don’t offer universal pre-K. The shift is as simple, yet meaningful, as moving from “Should we do it” to “How do we do it?”

Having both major party gubernatorial candidates on record as supporting this vital change is a step in the right direction. But it’s up to Hoosiers to make sure that whoever wins the governor’s race follows through on the ultimate goal of expanding pre-K programs in Indiana.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.