Volume 10, Issue 13

April 26, 2011

Hot Topics

NIEER co-director Steve Barnett released findings from The State of Preschool 2010 at a press conference today at the Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Washington, D.C. Barnett noted that data from this year's report 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. Barnett warned that the funding situation may get worse even as the economy slowly recovers but federal funds to help states weather the recession are now gone.
 
Joining him at the podium was U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan spoke on federal investments in preschool education, particularly concerning Race to the Top funding. "Three- and 4-year-olds don't vote, don't hire lobbyists and don't have a union," he said. "It's up to us to make this critical investment. We have to get out of this catch-up game in education and give children a fighting chance to enter kindergarten with the ability to learn and read."
 
Also speaking at the press conference was Marci Young, project director of Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States. Young spoke on the federal role in pre-K, noting that the damage done to state pre-K after cuts due to the recession strengthens the case that early childhood education should be included in the upcoming re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
 
Summing up the findings of the Yearbook, Barnett said, "America has far to go before every child has access to a high-quality education even at age 4, much less earlier. Yet, in much of the rest of the world this opportunity is taken for granted. As America falls behind in the early education of our children, we also fall behind in school success and economic competitiveness. As we exit the current recession, America will make critical decisions about how much we are willing to invest in our children's future. Decisions about state pre-K will be among the most important."
CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will include a segment tonight on NIEER's new edition of the annual State Preschool Yearbook. Also tonight, the report and its findings will be featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Please check your local listings for exact times.
 
To receive timely updates on The State of Preschool 2010 and other issues concerning preschool education, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

New on Preschool Matters...Today!

In his latest blog post, NIEER co-director Steve Barnett writes on the future of state-funded pre-K programs in light of the newly released Yearbook data.

New on nieer.org


The State of Preschool 2010: State Preschool Yearbook is the eighth in a series of annual reports profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2009-2010 school year. In the 2009-2010 school year, the effects of the recession became fully apparent despite federal government aid to the states for education. Total enrollment barely increased over the prior year. Total spending by the states decreased, and per-child spending declined in inflation-adjusted dollars. Read the full report at http://nieer.org/yearbook/.

State-funded preschool programs represent an important and sizeable component of the nation's patchwork of early childhood education programs. The State Preschool Yearbook series to provide information on services offered through these programs to children at ages 3 and 4. We hope that this report will serve as a resource for policymakers, advocates, and researchers to make more informed decisions as state-funded preschool education moves forward.

Limited time offer: Receive a free printed copy of the Yearbook
To receive a free printed copy of the 2010 State Preschool Yearbook, please e-mail your name and mailing address to yearbook@nieer.org. Complimentary copies of some previous editions are also available.

Calendar

May 2, 2011 - May 5, 2011
Greensboro, NC – The National Smart Start Conference is hailed as the nation's largest conference devoted to early education systems and strategies.
May 12, 2011 - May 14, 2011
Wheeling, IL – The Leadership Connections conference is a professional development opportunity designed for teachers, administrators, family child care providers, trainers, and consultants.
May 12, 2011

New Brunwick, NJ – Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, will give the Second Annual Education Justice lecture at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Public Policy and Planning at 3:30 p.m., May 12, 2011.
July 10, 2011 - July 13, 2011
Orlando, FL – The CAYL Institute will hold its third national conference for elementary school principals in Orlando, Florida.

Early Education News Roundup

April 26, 2011
Early Ed Watch (New America Foundation)
States spent $700 less per child on preschool during 2009-2010 than during the 2001-2002 school year, according to the new "State of Preschool 2010" report released today. This year's report marks the first time that state funding for pre-k actually declined from the prior year since the National Institute for Early Education Research started tracking it.
April 26, 2011
Education Week
The report credits the economic stimulus with cushioning preschool from further declines, but warns that per-pupil funds declined in 19 of 40 states and cautions that further declines are likely as stimulus funds run out. As spending decreased, so did progress raising quality.
April 26, 2011
The Washington Times
Preschool programs have become the victims of budget shortfalls across the nation, and the Obama administration's education point man said Monday he fears it's only going to get worse for the 1.3 million youngsters who benefit from them. "The trends are not encouraging. I simply can't support where governors are cutting back in early-childhood education," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters during a conference call Monday to discuss the National Institute for Early Education Research's annual "State of Preschool" survey.
April 26, 2011
The Washington Post
Funding for early-childhood education declined between 2009 and 2010, even as the Obama administration urged states to increase pre-kindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a study released Tuesday. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged states to cut other programs before removing funding from early-childhood education, but such advice was rejected across the country.
April 26, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Spending on preschool education in California remained steady last year, but only a fraction of 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded programs, and budget cuts threaten to harm efforts to increase access and improve quality, according to a new report. About 17% of 4-year-olds — 92,255 children — were enrolled in state preschool programs in 2009-10, according to the report, ranking California 23rd among the 40 states with funded programs.
April 26, 2011
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin receives a positive review in a national report released Tuesday that explores children's access to high-quality, state-funded prekindergarten programs, coming in sixth in the country in terms of the percentage of youngsters served. But state-level funding nationwide for 3- and 4-year-old prekindergarten programs has dropped as a result of the recession, and most states are struggling to maintain what they have rather than raise the number and quality of programs that can pay dividends later in the student's educational career, the report says.
April 26, 2011
Learning Matters (PBS)
The 2009-10 school year was the first time since NIEER started tracking data when total state funding fell from the year before. All told, state spending per child has dropped over $700 from 2001-02 school year levels.
April 26, 2011
Daily Journal, Franklin, IN
West Virginia's preschool efforts received high marks in a national study released Tuesday. West Virginia is expected to stay on schedule with its plan to offer pre-K programs to all 4-year-olds by the 2012-2013 school year, said W. Steven Barnett, NIEER co-director and author of the report.
April 26, 2011
The Columbus Dispatch
Once regarded as a national leader in educating preschoolers, Ohio now owns a more dubious distinction: No other state has slashed preschool funding like the Buckeye State. According to a report released today, Ohio enrolled fewer children in tax-funded preschool last year than it did a decade ago.
April 26, 2011
The Palm Beach Post
Florida has one of the nation's highest percentages of 4-year-olds in preschool programs, according to a study released today by a nonprofit educational foundation connected to Rutgers University. But state and local spending on those programs is among the worst in the nation.
April 26, 2011
Birmingham Business Journal
Alabama's pre-K program is one of only five in the nation to have a perfect 10 on benchmarks for quality standards, according to the annual survey of state-funded preschool programs released Tuesday. The State of Preschool 2010 showed that Alabama also ranks 15th in the nation for the amount spent per child in the pre-K program.
April 26, 2011
Salisbury Post, Salisbury, NC
North Carolina’s More at Four pre-Kindergarten program is one of only five state programs in the nation to score a perfect 10 on benchmarks for quality standards according to The State of Preschool 2010, a report just released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). "More at Four has helped to close the achievement gap by providing a critical first year of public education for our youngest at-risk learners," said State Superintendent June Atkinson.
April 26, 2011
The Christian Science Monitor
The findings come even as Congress considers proposals for steep cuts to Head Start and other early education programs. The NIEER study argues that state-funded preschools – many of which serve low-income families – are resource-strapped and deserve more funding rather than less, because of the long-term payoff in fewer dropouts, fewer teen parents, and a reduced criminal activity as teens or adults.
April 25, 2011
The New York Times
State funding for pre-kindergarten programs decreased by nearly $30 million, about one half of 1 percent, and would have fallen by $50 million if states had not received federal stimulus dollars, the survey said.
April 19, 2011
The Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME
Maine has a lot to gain by investing more in early child care and education, according to a new report from a national business organization that has growing local support.

Resources

The results of a national poll released today by First Focus show strong public support for protecting federal investments that benefit children. When asked about potential cuts considered in the budget debate, voters clearly prefer to protect programs for children. The least popular cuts proposed directly affect children, including cuts to federal child nutrition programs, Head Start, K-12 education, and CHIP, among others. A majority of voters believe that the lives of children in America have gotten worse rather than better in the last ten years.