The annual survey of state funded pre-K programs shows the national total for enrollment and spending on state-funded pre-K increased, though at reduced rates than in prior years. As states coped with budget shortfalls, however, some states cut enrollment to the lowest levels in many years. Other states cut funding and quality. Looking ahead, several states already have proposed preschool cuts for next year, with more cuts looming as state legislators cope with budget shortfalls.
Total enrollment and spending increased, but not in every state. In nine states—Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Oklahoma — the percentage of children enrolled actually declined. And 12 states provided no state-funded preschool programs. Among states ranking poorly in the quality of their preschool programs were California, Texas, and Florida.
Cuts in state preschool are coming at a time when more families than ever must depend on publicly funded preschool because of the recession. New research shows 1 of every 7 children are living with an unemployed parent, and the consequences may affect those children all their lives.
NEWS CONFERENCE to release the findings of the 2009 annual State of Preschool report. It ranks all 50 states on quality standards, funding, and access to state preschool programs.
W. STEVEN BARNETT, Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, will discuss the national findings and their implications.
MARCI YOUNG, Project Director, Pew Center on the States.
JULIA B. ISAACS, Child and Family Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institution, will discuss the growth in child poverty and its long-term effects.
9:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 4.
AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School, Columbia Heights, 2750 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
Steve Barnett will read a book to preschoolers after the news conference.
The National Institute for Early Education Research (www.nieer.org), a unit of the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy by providing objective, nonpartisan information based on research. NIEER is supported through grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and others.