Please see my piece in the "State / Federal" category for the single biggest enhancement I can give to children. That takes some Federal cooperation, but I am one Democrat willing, indeed eager, to work with DC. Whomever is in the White House and the various departments can help us make a better Connecticut.
Now....Connecticut is fortunate to have good, very good, and excellent teachers, devoted to their craft and often devoted to their students. I think we can do better still.
Our teachers are hampered by "Top Down" command-and-control dictates that prevent them from teaching as well as they might. We can free teachers to improve their work with "Bottom Up" choice, where they and the parents take full control. The teachers and parents will get an assist from administrators, but just a small one. A good administrator largely facilitates, meaning helps the teacher do her job better.
I'm the head of a private education firm, yet I take the "lowly" job of facilitating my teachers whenever I can inaugurate a first class. I'm the one wiping down their board, assuring good room temperature, lessening outside noise, assuring students have the right materials, assisting students if they are jumping online. For an after-school activities firm, I'm also a facilitator, a proud one, helping students get the most from their time with an energetic instructor.
The front line is the most important. That's how good businesses operate, and our schools should operate more like businesses.
As for pre-K learning "First 500" will engender a bevy of a private pre-school activities, at much reduced costs to parents. This includes "home-schooling-with socialization (a lack of socialization is typically the biggest fear among parents considering home schooling).
And as for children's lives outside of school walls, I lean towards the "free range" end. This state has not seen a kidnapping by a stranger in 63 years; responsible parents should not have to fear authorities coming down on them for "letting kids be kids".