“The epidemic has erased a decade’s progress in increasing enrollment in state-funded pre-school programs,” the report warned.
- 1 Some states have cut funding, but Congress has filled the gap
- 2 Low-income families have suffered the most
- 3 In six states, enrollment has dropped by more than 30%
- 4 Some states were close to universal pre-K before the epidemic
- 5 Enough about quantity, what about quality?
- 6 Whatever with President Biden’s big preschool plan?
Some states have cut funding, but Congress has filled the gap
States spent about $ 9 billion in the pre-2020-2021 school year – a 4 254 million inflation-adjusted drop from the previous year and “the biggest fall in funding since the Great Depression,” according to the report.
Now the good news: The federal government has provided about $ 440 million in preschool epidemic relief that enabled states to use more than the $ 254 million drop offset.
States spend শিশু 5,867 per child, a figure that NIEER says has “not improved significantly in two decades” after adjusting for inflation.
A caveat: this is a guess, not based on the actual enrollment of the program but based on the capabilities. This is because overall funding is largely flat but enrollment is significantly lower, with states actually spending more than $ 7,000 per child. But NIEER says measuring program costs based on last year’s capacity rather than actual enrollment is more accurate than the previous year.
Similarly, the report notes that, overall, state spending on pre-school has more than doubled in the last two decades, from 4. 4.1 billion in 2002 to an average of 9 9 billion in 2021. But when you cut the data differently, the state looks at the dollar Every childCosts have been significantly flattened.
“I can tell you, it’s a matter of preschool,” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told reporters Monday. “Preschool should be available to everyone, but not now. We have made some progress as a nation, but we still have a long way to go.”
Low-income families have suffered the most
Perhaps the most disturbing information in the report comes from a parent survey that captures the impact of the epidemic on pre-school enrollment based on family income.
Before the epidemic, about half of low-income children, 47%, were enrolled in some form of preschool. By the fall of 2021, however, that number has dropped to 31%. By comparison, before the epidemic, 62% of children in households over 25 25,000 were enrolled in pre-school and, although that number declined similarly, it returned to 58% by the fall of 2021.
In six states, enrollment has dropped by more than 30%
The report includes a color-coded map that shows which states have the most declines in pre-school enrollment: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Kentucky and Nevada.
Interestingly, enrollment has increased in half a dozen states: Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington.
Some states were close to universal pre-K before the epidemic
When you combine state pre-school, special education, and federally funded head start programs, NIEER sees six states, as well as Washington, DC, serving at least 70% of their 4-year-olds before the epidemic began: Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. DC continued to serve more than 70% of 4-year-olds in 2020-2021 alone.
Idaho, Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming did not offer public pre-school programs in the 2020-2021 school year.
Enough about quantity, what about quality?
NIEER’s annual review is not just about enrollment and funding; It’s also about quality control. The researchers evaluated each state using 10 benchmarks of quality, including the quality of their primary education, small class size, and whether they had trained teachers.
Only five state programs scored the perfect 10 out of 10: Alabama, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Hawaii’s Executive Office on Early Learning Public Prekindergarten Program, and Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program.
West Virginia Hall is one of a handful of state programs that have scored between nine and ten.
“West Virginia is now a diamond in the rough that everyone has missed,” Jim Justice, the state’s Republican governor, told reporters in a phone call discussing the NIEER report. The West Virginia Universal Pre-K program operates in every county in the state and meets nine of NIEER’s 10 criteria. Justice has called preschool investment “important off the charts.”
“I don’t care if you’re a Republican, a Democrat, an independent – first and foremost, we are Americans. And we must continue to do the right thing for America,” the judge said.
At the other end of the spectrum, Alaska, Florida and North Dakota programs have met only two of NIEER’s 10 benchmarks.
About 40% of all state-funded preschool children are enrolled in programs that meet less than half of NIEER standards.
Whatever with President Biden’s big preschool plan?
NIEER’s review landed an awkward moment for the Biden administration. The president is an outspoken champion of public pre-school and has made the idea a central theme in his Build Back Better Agenda, pledging দেওয়ার 10 billion over the next two years to increase the capacity of states’ pre-schools. That law has been on hold in the Senate for several months, although Biden sought additional pre-funding in his 2023 budget proposal.