Montana’s candidates for Governor talk pre-k, education


Both of the Democrats running for governor this year say they want to finally get a statewide public pre-kindergarten program, while one of the Republicans, Attorney General Tim Fox, said he’d want to bolster existing private and religious options while exploring public models other GOP governors in the country have supported.

U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, another Republican running for governor, said he didn’t think there’d be space to pursue pre-kindergarten while also working to increase teacher pay, and state Sen. Al Olszewski said he wanted to focus on changing how schools are funded.

Gianforte has chaired the board for the Petra Academy, a private Bozeman school that offers a “classical Christian education” and is a major financial backer of the Montana Family Foundation, which has led the push for so-called “school choice” in the state over the last decade or so. He’s also given $4.6 million to fund ACE scholarships to help families afford private school tuition.

“It really is about implementing that statewide public preschool program for our littlest learners, and it’s time we get that done. I believe that Montana’s Constitution tells us rightly so that everyone is entitled to a free, high-quality public education. We should start with our 4-year-olds. We’re one of only a handful of states that doesn’t prioritize our littlest learners.” Whitney Williams




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