State Programs

Publications and Research

In this report we explore the extent to which 41 states, the District of Columbia, and three large cities support high-quality state-funded preschool education. The framework for our assessment of state capacity is provided by “15 essential elements” of high-quality pre-K. These can be categorized into three clusters: enabling environment, rigorous policies, and strong practices. We believe that our assessments of the extent to which each element is present in each state will be useful to policy makers, researchers, and others interested in understanding how much progress each state has made and what the opportunities and barriers may be for further progress. The ratings apply to policies as of June 30, 2016.

PEER’s report evaluating Mississippi’s Early Learning Collaborative Preschool Program relies on research that does not meet the high standards needed to reach valid conclusions regarding program effectiveness that is typically used to inform policy. Several limitations of the data and methodology are acknowledged in the report. 

Prepared remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on a media call regarding the relesae ofthe 2013 State Preschool Yearbook.

In 2013, preschool education received more attention in the media and public policy circles than it has for some time, in part because of a series of high-profile proposals to expand access to quality pre-K.  The scientific basis for these proposed expansions of quality pre-K is impressive.  This paper brings to bear the full weight of the evidence to address the following questions:

  • What does all the evidence say about effective preschool education and long-term cognitive benefits?
  • What are the estimated effects of state and local pre-K programs in more recent years?
  • Is Head Start ineffective? 
  • Can government improve the quality of public preschool education? 
  • If states expand pre-K with temporary federal matching funds, what happens to state education budgets when that federal money is not available?

NIEER projects that in 2030 all but 1 state would spend less on education from pre-K through grade 12 under federal proposals that incentivize states to raise pre-K quality standards, offer a full school day, and serve all children under 200 percent of the federal poverty level. 

Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, the seventh year of implementation of the high-quality pre-K program in New Jersey's Abbott districts, NIEER began a longitudinal study to measure learning gains from participating in Abbott pre-K.  At the time the study began, quality had risen but not yet to its current level, and 40,500 3- and 4-year-old children were served. This fact sheet presents key takeaways from NIEER's longitudinal study of the program quality and child outcomes. 

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