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

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

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.

Spotlight on Mental Health

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Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

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How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

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What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.