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Preschool Matters Today

In the News: The State of Preschool


April 29, 2011

The results of NIEER’s annual survey of state-funded preschool, The State of Preschool 2010: State Preschool Yearbook, were released this week in Washington, DC. At the release, NIEER Co-Director Steve Barnett noted that the data showed that, nationally speaking, the recession is continuing to negatively impact state-funded pre-K programs. “Overall, state cuts to preschool funding transformed the recession into a depression for many young children,” he said. Joining Barnett at the release were U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who said “We can’t win the future by cheating children at the starting line,” and Pre-K Now’s Marci Young, who noted that the damage done to state pre-K after cuts due to the recession strengthens the case that preschool education should be included in the upcoming re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

From left to right: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, NIEER Co-Director Steve Barnett, and Pre-K Now Project Director Marci Young

Following the release, Steve Barnett and findings from The State of Preschool 2010: State Preschool Yearbook were featured in segments on both CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. “We should care about the drop in state investments in pre-K because pre-K can set the foundation for success. If we don’t invest we have high rates of failure,” Barnett told NBC’s Tom Costello. Speaking with CBS News national correspondent Jim Axelrod about the impacts of two years of New Jersey’s high-quality pre-K, Barnett said “The evidence is really clear, preschool makes a big difference. By itself it can cut school failure in half.”

Findings from the Yearbook were also featured in national newspapers, including The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, as well as in numerous state and local papers. Let us know where you’ve seen the Yearbook featured!

– Jen Fitzgerald, Public Information Officer, NIEER