A new entitlement? The right to preschool

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some Republican governors and state lawmakers have been carving out an exception to their ideology of less spending and smaller government.

Funding for preschool programs is rising in numerous Republican-led states at a rate often equaling or exceeding that of Democratic dominated capitols. This year's three largest increases in preschool funding occurred in Republican states, including a $65 million hike in Michigan.

The surge in state preschool spending has reversed recessionary cuts. And it's come even as congressional Republicans have blocked a quest by President Barack Obama to pour tens of billions of dollars into preschool programs.

State Republicans are putting their own twist on the preschool push. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has framed it as a "voucher" for lower-income parents. Other states are distributing the money as competitive grants.

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