By Derrick DePledge
Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday will release a new television advertisement for his re-election campaign that focuses on early childhood education.
The ad -- the governor's second -- invokes Hawaii-born President Barack Obama, who has endorsed Abercrombie and has also advocated for greater access to preschool.
Abercrombie has proposed building towards an early childhood education program that would eventually offer preschool to all of the state's four-year-olds at a cost of more than $125 million a year.
Voters will decide in November whether to approve a constitutional amendment that would allow state money to be used for private preschool, which would help bring the program to scale.
State lawmakers have been cautious about an aggressive expansion, however. Lawmakers have approved only a fraction of the money the governor initially requested to launch the initiative.
State Sen. David Ige, who is challenging Abercrombie in the primary, has questioned whether a new early education program is necessary and has suggested that the state focus on existing preschool and childcare programs.
From the Abercrombie spot:
Announcer: Nothing has a greater long-term benefit for our keiki than early education… Pre-school.
Teacher: "When kids get an early start in learning, more stay in school, do better in school, and they're better prepared for life."
Governor Abercrombie: That's why President Obama has made early education a top priority. And so have I. If pre-school can make the difference between good and great for all our children, how can we say "NO".
Announcer: The right priorities... the right values... the right Governor.