The State of Preschool: 2003 State Preschool Yearbook

The State of Preschool: 2003 State Preschool Yearbook

by W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., Kenneth B. Robin, Psy.M., Jason T. Hustedt, Ph.D., and Karen L. Schulman, M.P.P.

The State Preschool Yearbook has been developed by the National Institute for Early Education Research to provide information on one important contributor to change in the education of young children—state-funded prekindergarten programs. This 2003 Yearbook is the first in an annual series reporting on programs funded by state governments to educate children at ages 3 and 4.

Primary responsibility for education in the United States resides with state and local governments, and state prekindergarten programs will play an important role in the education of young children in the 21st century. We recognize that other types of programs serve young children under a variety of names and auspices, including the federal Head Start program and privately-and publicly-funded child care. This report seeks to improve the public’s knowledge and understanding of state prekindergarten programs in that larger array of programs.

This first State Preschool Yearbook describes state-funded prekindergarten programs in the 2001–2002 school year and establishes a baseline against which to compare future progress. The Yearbook data were collected from an intensive survey of the states. Information is presented on three key characteristics of prekindergarten programs: access, quality standards, and resources.

This Yearbook is organized into three major sections. The first section provides background information on preschool education in the United States, a description of our data collection and analytical methods, a national summary of our findings, and national policy recommendations. The second section presents detailed reports identifying each state’s policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources. In addition to basic program descriptions, these state pages describe unique features of state programs and recent changes that can be expected to alter the future Yearbook data on these programs. Finally, the last section contains the appendices, including tables that report all of the survey data obtained from every state, as well as Head Start and child care data.

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