A new state-by-state report shows more young children enrolled in public pre-K programs
nationwide, with Florida continuing to be a leader in access for 4-year-olds but ranking near the bottom on spending per child, a key contributor to program quality.
The State of Preschool 2017 annual report finds states heeding the demand for pre-K and expanding access to publicly funded programs in a variety of settings. But instead of supporting quality early learning with adequate resources, most state programs invest too little to help children catch up with their more advantaged peers by kindergarten.
Florida’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program serves more than 75% of 4-year-olds in the state. Yet state funding per child is among the nation’s lowest–$2,282—under-funding efforts to provide high-quality preschool. Florida state policy meets just two of NIEER’s 10 quality standards benchmarks. The report includes state profiles, as well as state by state rankings.
“Recent changes in federal policy–including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)–make it clear that progress in early education depends more than ever on the states,” said NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett. “Our report highlights which states invest best in their young children and which leave too many children behind.”
For the first time this year’s yearbook includes a special report on the status of state efforts to support Dual Language Learners (DLL). Florida did not report on policies to address the needs of this vulnerable group.
The annual yearbook is compiled and published by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). The group conducts academic research to inform policy supporting high-quality, early education for all young children.