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Hawaii’s state-run preschool programs receive first report card, indicates room for improvement

May 16, 2016
AccessEconomics and FinanceGovernance and AccountabilityQuality and CurriculumState & Local
Max Dible
West Hawaii Today

State funded pre-kindergarten education still has a long way to go in Hawaii despite significant progress in 2014-15, according to a report by the nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research located at Rutgers University and made available by a press release from the Hawaii Children’s Action Network. Hawaii’s Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL) launched a pre-K program in 2014-15, allowing the state’s inclusion in The State of Preschool Report for the first time this year. In its initial year, the EOEL’s program served 365 students in 20 classrooms across 18 schools. Those numbers rose in 2015-16, when the program served 420 4-year-old students in 21 classrooms across 19 schools.

“Hawaii’s economic future depends on early investment in its youngest citizens,” said Deborah Zysman, Executive Director for Hawaii Children’s Action Network. Hawaii ranked seventh in the country in the area of state spending and ninth in all reported spending, but those numbers are per capita figures, not total spending. Each state-sponsored classroom is located within a public school, as Hawaii state law prohibits public funding of privately run preschool programs.