Earlier this year, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass his previously proposed initiatives regarding early-childhood and post-secondary education: federally-funded preschools and colleges to create more educational opportunities for low-income families.

The “Preschool for All” initiative, which Obama first proposed in his 2013 State of the Union address, calls for $90 billion to be dedicated to preschool funding over the next 10 years. An additional $70 billion is needed to support his plan to offer two tuition-free years of Community College.

While providing the children of low-income families and financially-strapped college students easier access to education is commendable, it seems Obama is overlooking something very critical, the presently unsatisfactory state of our nation’s educational system for kindergarten through high school.

Over the last 10 years, states across the country have experienced budget cuts, countless schools closing and many teachers being handed pink slips within the K-12 education system.

Coupled with the costly Common Core, which has mixed reviews, the $160 billion President Obama is asking to fund new pre-school and Community College programs would be better spent  on the troubled K through 12 public schools system in America. Excellent preschools lose their effectiveness if the school’s students continue on to a substandard K-12 public education.

Graduating public high school seniors’ math and reading levels are mostly below what is considered “proficient,” in America, according to the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress.

Free tuition for unskilled freshmen is a formula for failure at the college level. It seems the already existing problems with our grade schools should be examined before the president begins to dole out money for the before and after. And $160 billion would go a long way in rebuilding the broken K-12 education system.