05/04/2010 - Early-education programs are struggling to serve all the children who qualify for them, as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has caused states to slash budgets and reduce spending, according to an annual survey of state-funded programs by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
Expansion of state-funded preschool was slower in 2009 and more uneven than in previous years, even though total enrollment and spending increased overall, the institute found. With more parents relying on publicly funded preschool as their incomes fell, enrollment declined in nine states, while other states limited enrollment. Twelve states, including Idaho and New Hampshire, provide no state-funded preschool.
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Marci Young, a project director with the Washington-based Pew Center on the States, said she hopes that Congress will add money and incentives to build on state investments in prekindergarten as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. “As findings in the NIEER Yearbook underscore, state-funded prekindergarten programs are facing increased challenges,” Ms. Young said.
Read the full article Hard Times Derail Growth of State-Funded Preschool on Education Week's Web site.