A recent article on the price of preschool spoke about how child care prices are skyrocketing. It's just put a spotlight on a foregone idea: quality child care is highly expensive thus explaining the gaps in preparation between SES classes (Berns, 2007).
$7,000 is okay, but high quality early childhood education is more around $10,000 like the article states. Why? Because many of these high quality programs lay on a staff of fully certified teachers--not necessarily the supplies and resources--which are expensive to keep (Morrison, 2008). The schools with $7,000/year fees may employ a mismash of certified teachrs, associate-arts degree teachers, and non-degreed teachers.
The solution to these high costs could lay in universal prekindergarten, but only if it is more along the lines of the $10,000/year private preschools. The fear I have with universal prekindergarten and giving all infants to 4 year olds a chance to go to preschool for free is that it may be a bare minimum program that does not supply all of the children's needs.
Berns, R. (2007). Child, family, school, community: Socialization and support. Austrailia: Thomson.
Morrison, G.S. (2008). Fundamentals of early childhood education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.