(New Brunswick, NJ, Wednesday, April 17, 2019) – The State of Preschool 2018, a new report on public pre-K programs nationwide, highlights which states invest best in their young children and which leave too many children behind. Data shows the best and worst are worlds apart.
Looking at funding trends across the country, the National Institute for Early Education Research finds states are funding full-day pre-K for more children, expanding learning opportunities and better meeting needs for working families.
Overall, the report finds little progress in state pre-K spending compared to last year, and access to state pre-K is stalled near just 20 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds.
Some states and cities are making progress – and advocates should look to WHERE for ways to invest public resources to both enhance quality and expand access.
However, the growth of state funded pre-k programs in recent years is precarious as a key federal grant for early childhood education expires next year, shifting more financial responsibility to states for pre-k quality and access.
A teacher’s education and wages can significantly impact classroom quality and children’s learning opportunities. NIEER research finds state standards for teacher qualifications and compensation often differ between pre-k classrooms in public schools and those in private centers, allowing the quality of learning education to vary dramatically, even within the same state pre-k program.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (www.nieer.org) at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy and practice through independent, objective research. For more information, including the full report and specific ranking of states, visit www.nieer.org.