Recent early education news and updates

In the News

Delaware would need soda tax like Philly to create free, universal pre-K

June 11, 2018
Amy Cherry

Expanding state-funded pre-kindergarten education to all children ages 3 and 4 in Delaware is a top priority for state Education Secretary Susan Bunting.

“If I could wave my magic wand, I would make sure that every economically challenged child has access to a quality preschool program,” she said.

Despite what state officials have touted as major investments–and strides–in early education in recent years, the 2017 State of Preschool report ranked Delaware 36th in the nation when it comes to access to high-caliber, state-funded pre-K programs for 4-year-olds with just 10 percent of the age group being served. The report from the National Institute for Early Education Research said the figures represent “no progress” over the past 15 years with enrollment and spending per child relatively flat.

Just under 1,000 children in Delaware participate in a state-funded Early Childhood Assistance Program, but Delaware did get points for expanding their program to 3-year-olds.

“Our report highlights which states invest best in their young children and which leave too many children behind,” said NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett. “Delaware is stepping up to include 3-year-olds, but they rank among the lowest for 4-year-old access,” he said.

Kim Krzanowski, executive director of the Office of Early Learning, acknowledged that, while ECAP and other community programs like Headstart are providing quality care, they lack robustness.

“We have a little under 1,000 children participating in an ECAP program,” she said. “Reports are reports, and like many other states, we don’t have thousands and thousands of children due to our funding structure, so we were happy that we were meeting the majority of the benchmarks. We know we have work to do in some of the other areas, and it does come down to funding.”