The Pre-K Pinch: Early Education and the Middle Class

  • November 12, 2008
  • By Albert Wat

Especially in times of state and federal budget deficits and a global economic crisis, policy makers need sound, research-based guidance on the wisest use of public dollars. Few public policy options offer a guaranteed return as tangible as that of high-quality, voluntary pre-k.

Through a review of the evidence, both quantitative and anecdotal, this report by Pre-K Now, “The Pre-K Pinch: Early Education and the Middle Class,” demonstrates that high-quality pre-k benefits all children, families, and society; describes the extent to which middle-class families are struggling to afford high-quality pre-k; and provides estimates of the number of middle-class children left out of pre-k because of family income.

This report then offers recommendations for policy makers to aid them in providing financial relief to middle-class families, stimulating our sputtering economy, ensuring the school readiness of the next generation, and building our nation's human capital. While increasing access to high-quality state pre-k will not address all of the economic troubles facing the middle class or the nation, it is an important and oft-overlooked part of the solution.