The State of Preschool 2011: Rising Media Star

This week we released The State of Preschool 2011: State Preschool Yearbook, our annual survey of state-funded pre-K, at a press conference at the Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C. This year’s report included 10 years worth of data as well as recommendations for the next decade. Speaking at the press conference, NIEER Director Steve Barnett opened his discussion of the report’s findings by emphasizing the impact of high-quality preschool. “One of the few facts that economists of all stripes agree on is that preschool is a good public investment. It’s an investment that can decrease school failure, cut crime, and increase employment. Today more than ever we need such investments,” he said.

Also speaking at the release of The State of Preschool 2011 was U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who stated, “We cannot continue down the path of cutting investments in early learning and jeopardizing the quality of programs for young children. Budgets are never just numbers. How we spend our resources, especially in tough economic times, reflects our values.” Secretary Duncan was referring to the State Preschool Yearbook’s findings that state spending for pre-K has decreased by nearly $60 million since the past year’s report, and per-child spending is down more than $700 over the 10-year period.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and NIEER Director Steve Barnett: two strong advocates for high-quality pre-K.

Dr. Barnett and Secretary Duncan were introduced at the event by Bancroft Elementary School’s Principal Zakiya Reid who also noted the importance of preschool by saying, “We know that high-quality pre-K works. It helps prepare children for school. And research tells us that high-quality pre-K eventually gives children greater opportunities to graduate from high school and pursue college and good careers. … Families need and deserve for their children to have a great start to their education.”

Following the release, Dr. Barnett and findings from The State of Preschool 2011 were featured in a video from NIEER as well as a segment on NBC news. In NIEER’s video statement, Barnett said, “The key message in this year’s report is that cuts are endangering quality, and quality is what’s responsible for the payoff from preschool.” NBC correspondent Tracie Potts’s video segment ran on several affiliate stations throughout the country.

Besides the NBC coverage, the 2011 State Preschool Yearbook story was picked up by additional national outlets, such as The Washington Post, Governing magazine, The Huffington Post, Time magazine, and Education Week, to name a few.

State-specific findings from The State of Preschool 2011 were also covered in numerous state media outlets, including, but not limited to, The Miami Herald, The Huntsville Times, Chicago Parent magazine, The News & Observer, The Seattle Times, The Charleston Daily Mail, Dayton Daily News, The Press of Atlantic City, Tulsa World, The Times-Picayune, The Orlando Sentinel, Cronkite News, The Washington Examiner, The Tennessean, Oakland Tribune, The Columbus Dispatch,  and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Have you seen The State of Preschool 2011 featured in your state or local media? Let us know where by adding a comment below!

– Jen Fitzgerald, Public Information Officer, NIEER