This Yearbook is organized into three major sections. The first section provides background information on preschool education in the United States, a description of our data collection and analytical methods, a national summary of our findings, and national policy recommendations. The second section presents detailed profiles outlining each state's policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources. In addition to basic program descriptions, these state profiles describe unique features of a state's program and recent changes that can be expected to alter the future Yearbook statistics on a program. Unlike last year's Yearbook, the states without state-funded programs also have their own profile pages. Finally, the last section of the report contains appendices, including tables that provide the complete survey data obtained from every state, as well as Head Start and child care data.
State-funded preschool programs represent an important component of the nation's patchwork of early childhood education programs. NIEER has developed the State Preschool Yearbook series to provide information on services offered through these programs to children at ages 3 and 4. We hope that this report will serve as a resource for policymakers, advocates, and researchers to make more informed decisions as state-funded preschool moves forward.
While parents strive to guide children's growth and development in the home, state and local governments bear primary responsibility for classroom-based education in the United States. Programs that serve young children operate under a variety of names and auspices, including the federal Head Start program as well as privately and publicly funded child care. State prekindergarten programs will play an increasingly important role as part of this larger array of programs. The Yearbook seeks to improve the public's knowledge and understanding of state efforts to expand the availability of high-quality education to young children in the 21st century.