State Pre-K Is Hard-Hit by Recession

New Brunswick, New Jersey, Aug. 3 – Preschool-age children across the nation will feel a much bigger impact from the recession in 2010 and 2011 than in the past as more states run short of money to fund their pre-K programs, a new analysis from the National Institute for Early Education Research reveals. “We estimate that so far, $348 million in state funding has been cut from state-funded pre-K programs across those two years and that figure could well rise,” says NIEER Co-Director Steve Barnett.

Barnett, whose organization has been tracking the effects of the recession on state pre-K, says $248.3 million was cut from 16 state pre-K initiatives in FY 2010 alone. Another $99.8 million in funding is proposed to be cut from state pre-K in 2011. He says if the pattern for 2010 is any indication, that figure could rise by year-end. “Even as we move out of the Great Recession, state revenues will continue to lag the recovery. Our elected officials must prioritize public investments that are pro-growth—as cuts will cost us and our children far more in the future than they save today,” Barnett said. NIEER provides a state-by-state break-out on its web site.


The National Institute for Early Education Research (, 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.

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