BOSTON (AP) — Early education advocates are pushing a bill they say will help close a persistent achievement gap in schools and make sure more Massachusetts children can attend pre-kindergarten programs.

Test scores have shown that white and Asian students typically score higher than black and Hispanic students.

One goal of the bill is to close that gap. Another goal is to provide 3- and 4-year-olds in underperforming Massachusetts school districts access to high quality pre-K programs.

Supporters say pre-kindergarten programs can provide a critical early educational boost for young children.

During last year's election, however, Gov. Charlie Baker said the state shouldn't just focus on early education.

The bill is sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers, Wellesley state Rep. Alice Peisch and Everett state Sen. Sal DiDomenico. It has about two dozen co-sponsors.