Good news in the field of early childhood education. For the fourth year in a row, states’ spending on pre-k has increased, according to an April 2016 article on DistrictAdministration.com.
The article cites a report from the Education Commission of the States, which found that total state funding for preschool programs increased 12 percent over the prior year, to a total of nearly $7-billion. In the 2015-16 budget year, 32 states and the District of Columbia raised funding levels of preschool programs.
States’ support for pre-k seems to be bi-partisan as well. The report found that of the states that increased pre-k funding, 22 of the states had Republican governors and 10 had Democratic governors.
In 2015-16, five states – Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming – were the only states that did not provide state funds for pre-k, compared to 11 states just three years ago. Nine states decreased funding, and three stayed the same, according to the article.
The trends in state funding of pre-k mirrors what is happening at the federal level. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) increases funding for early childhood education through Title I, Title II and Preschool Development Grants, which will allocate $226 million to expand high-quality preschool for low-income families.
For years, Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) has been immersed in the creation of early childhood learning systems in states, such as First Things First in Arizona, and in cities, such as Cleveland’s nationally recognized PRE4CLE. ACS applauds the investment in high-quality preschool expansion programs across the country, yet understands it is just one piece of the puzzle. ACS will continue to work at local, state, and federal levels to encourage a broad, cross sector, holistic strategies to helping our nation’s young children get the best start in life through comprehensive early learning systems, which address health, nutrition, parent support, social services, as well as high-quality preschool.