Early Education in the News

Fox 6 WBRC
May 12, 2015

The top Pre-K program in the nation is right here in Alabama! For the ninth year, the National Institute for Early Education Research has named Alabama's program number one. Officials do say that although it is rated the best, more could be done to improve it. Alabama is one of only five states in the country to meet or exceed all of the benchmarks set by the National Institute for Early Education, but only 13 percent of 4-years-olds currently have access to the state program because of limited funding.

Chalkbeat Colorado
May 12, 2015

While state funding for the Colorado Preschool Program increased a bit last year, Colorado didn’t improve on measures of preschool quality or access, according to an annual ranking published by the National Institute for Early Education Research or NIEER. Among the quality benchmarks Colorado failed to meet is one that would require early childhood teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and a second that would require assistant teachers to have a Child Development Associate. A decade ago, Colorado achieved only four benchmarks on the quality checklist.

LA School Report
May 12, 2015

Just as LA Unified is planning big cuts to a preschool program, a new report that says California is lagging behind other states in the quality of its early education programs.

The annual report, The State of Preschool 2014, was prepared by the National Institute for Early Education Research and focuses on 10 quality preschool standards in state-funded programs in 40 states and the District of Columbia (10 states do no fund pre-K programs). California met four of the 10 standards, making it one of only five states to have met less than 50 percent of the standards. Among the problems cited was not having class sizes limited to 20 or under, not screening children for vision and hearing problems and not requiring teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. Five states met all 10 standards, and 17 met eight or more. Overall, the report found a wide disparity among states and among districts within states in the level of quality preschool programs.

Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
May 12, 2015

Oklahoma’s prekindergarten enrollment continues to be among the highest in the nation, according to a study released Monday.

The National Institute for Early Education Research conducted the annual review, which found that Oklahoma served 76 percent of 4-year-olds during the 2013-14 school year, compared to 29 percent nationally. . .

Oklahoma, according to the report, spent nearly $150 million on prekindergarten programs, or $3,671 per student, which ranked 26th. The state ranked eighth, however, in all reported spending per child enrolled, which includes additional funding from federal or local sources.

May 12, 2015

The number of children enrolled in Washington state programs that provide preschool for low-income kids remains too low, a new report released Monday says.

The state ranks 33rd in the nation for access to state preschool for 4-year-olds, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, which conducts an annual review of preschool programs.

Washington state has made an effort to improve the quality of preschool for low-income kids, and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program saw an increase in 2014 of 350 students to just over 10,000 children across the state.

The CT Mirror
May 12, 2015

“Let’s commit Connecticut to achieving universal pre-kindergarten,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told legislators during his State of the State speech last year.

Legislators agreed, and celebrated when the Democratic governor signed into law a legislative plan to spend $15 million more this fiscal year and $20 million more each year afterward until 2024 to drastically expand preschool enrollment in public schools. The legislature also funded the first year of a separate Malloy plan to add 1,020 preschool seats this year. The governor hoped the program would eventually be extended to add another 3,000 seats over the next four years.

And then reality hit. . .

The state on Monday awarded districts $1.6 million of the $15 million available — and no more is expected to be given out before the fiscal year ends in seven weeks.

Vermont Public Radio
May 12, 2015

Each year, the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER, publishes a profile of every state. With its plan for universal access to pre-K, Vermont is second only to the District of Columbia.

Yet it ranks only 20th when it comes to state spending on preschool. And it gets low marks for setting quality standards.

Institute Director Steve Barnett admits Vermont’s emerging preschool system may be better and more adequately funded than the report suggests, because so many of its programs are private, not public. The report can only measure state spending and mandates, not programs under local control.

“Well, our report is a very blunt instrument,” Barnett conceded. “We don’t even look at quality; we look at quality standards. And in a local control state, states tend not to look good, so Vermont only meets four out of the 10 benchmarks. But the reality is, if you went and looked at programs in Vermont … many of them do meet these standards.”

Florida Times Union
May 11, 2015

Enrollment in Florida’s voluntary preschool program fell for a second consecutive year in 2013-14, dropping the state to 36th among 41 states for providing preschool funding on the per-child basis. Florida is one of 20 states that cut its per-child state preschool spending last year, the institute said.

Florida serve 170,266 4-year-olds, that’s more than 3,800 fewer preschoolers than the year before. The state spends $ 2,238 per preschooler in the program, down $24 from the year before and much lower than the national average of $ $4,125.

“Florida’s young children will not be well served until the state’s leaders give quality the same attention they have devotged to providing access” to preschool, said Steven Barnett, the insitute’s director. He noted recent budget proposals to increase funding are encourgaging signs.... “still much remains to be done before the state constitutional amendment requiring that ever Florida child has access to a high quality pre-K program is honored.”

Also the state’s quality standards and measures for preschools are among the lowest in the nation, meeting three of the 10 quality recommendations by institute, he said.

May 11, 2015

 A new study on early education finds more parents are enrolling their children in Pre-K. The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research breaks down enrollment and funding by state.

In the last two years here in Texas, there’s been no change in enrollment, but there has been a slight increase in funding. That funding could increase next school year.

State lawmakers are still working to give public schools an extra $130 million.  The money would be used to improving existing Pre-K programs. House members will now have to look over the Senate version and come to an agreement before sending the bill to the governor’s desk.

May 11, 2015

New Jersey is again among the nation's leaders in per-pupil spending for children enrolled in state funded pre-kindergarten, according to a new report.

The State of Preschool 2014 found that the state spent $12,157 per student in the 2013-14, second only to the District of Columbia. However, New Jersey spent about $26 less per student than in 2012-13.

New Jersey has historically ranked among the nation's highest per-student spenders in the report, which is conducted annually by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University.

May 11, 2015

Early education has emerged in 2015 as a more frequent talking point among those pushing government investments and a potential wedge issue between Beacon Hill Democrats and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

As annual budget deliberations shift to the Senate this week, backers of bigger investments say poll results they commissioned show that voters agree that early education should be a bigger priority within the roughly $38.1 billion budget that’s being assembled this spring.

The poll of 605 Massachusetts voters, conducted March 17 through March 22 by Anderson Robbins Research, found 67 percent favored investments to expand access to pre-kindergarten services. Support for expanded early education was even stronger among women and Latino voters.

Politico Morning Education
May 11, 2015

Preschool funding is beginning to bounce back from the recession, the newest version of the National Institute of Early Education Research’s “State of Preschool” yearbook finds. State per-child funding increased by $61 between 2013 and 2014 on the whole. Mississippi created its state-funded pre-K program — the first time a new state has jumped on board with state-funded pre-K in four years.

May 11, 2015

Louisiana ranks 15th in the United States in providing access to publicly funded preschool programs, with 32 percent of 4-year-olds participating, a recently released report from the National Institute for Early Education Research finds. Authors also noted that Louisiana is 16th in the nation in preschool spending.

Louisiana's preschool participation rate is higher than the national average of 29 percent. At a budget of $4,565 per child, the state also spent more than other states did on average.

May 11, 2015

Rhode Island’s new state-funded preschool program is expensive, but it may be high quality. That’s according to a new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

The study finds Rhode Island is one of several states investing more money in preschool. The program serves only a tiny percentage of the state’s 4-year-olds, putting Rhode Island near the bottom for access. But the study praises the relatively new effort as one of just five that meet a series of quality standards. 

Washington Post
May 11, 2015

A new report on state-funded pre-kindergarten programs says that funding, enrollment and quality was up somewhat in 2014 but that the pace of progress was way too slow and that wide disparities exist in states across the country. Just how slow is slow? If the 2013-2014 growth in enrollment continues, it would take 150 years to reach 70 percent enrollment.

Quality early childhood education — recognized as a key element in preparing children for school – has become a priority of the Obama administration, which last year announced a $1 billion public-private spending initiative.  The annual report on the state of preschool, published by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers Graduate School of Education University, says that total state funding for pre-K increased in 2013-2014 by more than $116 million across 40 states plus the District of Columbia — a 1 percent increase in real dollars. Per child,  that was a $61-dollar increase from the previous year, $4,125.

La Opinion
May 11, 2015

The "Great Recession" is behind us and state governments have begun to leverage investment in preschool programs, but Hispanic children in California and other states still pay disparities in access to high-quality programs .

national report released Monday by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER in English) at Rutgers University, evaluated the disparities in access to pre-kindergarten programs in each of the 50 states during the 2013-2014 school year.

More than 1.3 million children, most four years old, were enrolled in prekindergarten programs of state governments, while 40% of preschool children attending programs that do not meet even half ten quality standards set by NIEER.

Visiting the CentroNia preschool in Takoma Park (Maryland), Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, was pleased that, although much remains to be done, the US "moves in the right direction" and is creating the foundations to prepare all children for kindergarten.

Washington Post
May 11, 2015

State funding for public pre-kindergarten programs ticked up nationwide in 2014, as did enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a new reportreleased Monday. But access to preschool continues to vary widely from state to state.

Enrollment is highest in the District, where more than 98 percent of four-year-olds are in public preschool, according to the report. Also at the top of the list are Vermont (91 percent) and Florida (80 percent). Ten states had no state preschool program in 2014.

May 11, 2015

The 40 states with state preschool programs and the District of Columbia spent $116 million more on public preschool in the 2013-14 school year than they did in 2012-13, according to the annual "State of Preschool Yearbook," released May 11 by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey. That brought total spending up to $5.56 billion in 2013-14, a 1 percent increase in real dollars over the previous school year.

The report also found that state-funded preschool served 1.3 million children in 2013-14. Four-year-olds accounted for 1.1 million of those. Enrollment increased overall by 8,535 children, with several states increasing enrollment and other decreasing enrollment.

El Nuevo Herald
May 11, 2015

Hispanic children continue to be the least likely to receive preschool education in the United States, although public financing began to recover after the recession of 2008, according to a study released Monday.

The National Institute for Early Education Research, nonpartisan and based at Rutgers University, found that during 2013-14, US states increased their contributions to preschool education by nearly 120 million dollars (one percent) over the previous year.

But although national public funding and enrollment have increased, most Hispanic children live in California, Florida and Texas, states with lower quality preschool education.

Washington Post
May 11, 2015

The nation is moving too slowly in terms of providing quality preschool to its youngest learners, especially low-income children who desperately need a strong educational foundation, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday morning at a bilingual preschool in Langley Park, Md.

“The current pace of change is far too incremental,” said Duncan, who also read a story about a lion to a class of very enthusiastic 4-year-olds at CentroNia. “We have to think about transformational change.”

Duncan unveiled a new report by the the National Institute for Early Education Research, which found that in 2014, despite increased state funding for preschool and repeated calls by President Obama for preschool for all 4-year-olds, just 29 percent of 4-year-olds and 4 percent of 3-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded preschool programs.