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President Obama wants pre-school education for "every single child in America." Would that help break the poverty cycle?  Even if academic advantages might fade as kids grow older, are there other benefits to justify a new federal program? Also, the Republicans slam President Obama's stopgap sequester fix, and a multi-million-dollar diamond theft that sounds like a Hollywood movie.

Banner image: President Obama visits a pre-kindergarten classroom at the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center in Decatur, Georgia, February 14, 2013. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Making News Republicans Slam Obama's Stopgap Sequester Fix 7 MIN, 16 SEC

Congress is on a week-long recess with massive spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the end of next week. Washington is reportedly getting resigned to the so-called "sequester." At the White House today, the President warned of dire consequences. "It won't consider whether we're cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day; it doesn't make those distinctions." Jake Sherman reports on Congress for Politico.


Jake Sherman, Politico (@JakeSherman)

Main Topic Is Pre-school Education Being Oversold? 33 MIN, 2 SEC

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama made a proposal that hasn't been tried since the Nixon Administration: federally funded assistance for pre-school education. The President says universal pre-school education will boost high-school graduation, while reducing teen-pregnancy and violent crime. He's using the red states of Georgia and Oklahoma to demonstrate that it's working. But critics say benefits fade away quickly and don't work long enough. Would the program really be "universal" if it's aimed at the poor with means testing to filter out kids in upper- and middle-income families? State and local governments account for most education spending. Would a preschool program help Washington level the playing field in an era of growing inequality? 

Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post (@LyndseyLayton)
Russ Whitehurst, Brookings Institution
Angeline Lillard, University of Virginia
Julie Isaacs, Urban Institute (@urbaninstitute)

Reporter's Notebook Multimillion-dollar Diamond Heist in Brussels 10 MIN

As a passenger plane was loading cargo at the airport in Brussels today, heavily armed and hooded thieves dressed as policemen drove onto the tarmac, flashing the blue lights of two black vehicles. Barely five minutes later, they were gone — with many millions of dollars worth of polished and uncut stones. No shots were fired and nobody was hurt, but the bold and dramatic robbery could have consequences for the world's trade in diamonds. Daniel Michaels is aviation reporter in Brussels for the Wall Street Journal.

Daniel Michaels, Wall Street Journal (@DanMichaelsWSJ)

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