HARTFORD — Taking a cue from new New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Democratic legislative leaders in Hartford now say they want to “invest” $200 million over ten years to provide pre-kindergarten to some 50,000 four-year-olds. The initiative, announced at an April 9 press conference, is planned as a forerunner to “universal” pre-K in Connecticut.

“Everyone agrees Pre-K helps prepare children for grade school, academically and socially, so why wouldn’t we want to make this investment?” said House Speaker Brendan Sharkey (D-88) of Hamden. “Pre-K not only increases the chances of future success in and out of the classroom, but helps meet the ongoing challenge of providing equal educational opportunity to every child.”

Actually, not everyone agrees. Critics of pre-K mandates both in New York and Connecticut say the academic benefits of pre-K are short-lived and that making it universal is a fantastically expensive means of providing free day care.