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Analysis Says High Percentage of Children Not Enrolled in Early Ed Unchanged After Nearly a Decade

Analysis Says High Percentage of Children Not Enrolled in Early Education Unchanged After Nearly a Decade

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual publication that focuses on the well-being of children living in the U.S.

The publication’s goal is to promote equality through promoting the need for policy action: "We believe that our nation can, and must, find common ground on policy solutions to address the devastating economic instability experienced by millions of American families.”

This year, analysis revealed some positive findings. Although 63 percent of the country’s fourth graders are not proficient in reading, this number has declined since 2007. Additionally, so has the number of eighth graders not proficient in math.

Perhaps most refreshing is that while 25 percent of high school students did not graduate on time in 2008, just four years later only 18 percent of students did not.

Less refreshing is the state of early childhood education throughout the country. While the latest research consistently points to the importance of early education in a child’s future development, many states struggle to provide early education opportunities to all young children.

"The foundation of brain architecture and subsequent lifelong developmental potential are laid down in a child’s early years,” the report says.

"High-quality prekindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds play an important role in preparing children for success and lead to higher levels of educational attainment, career advancement and earnings.”

Unfortunately, the data indicates that many three and four-year-old learners are being left behind, especially if they come from low-income, disadvantaged backgrounds.

During 2012-2014, the report found that over 4.4 million of the country’s three and four-year-olds did not attend school. This number equates to about 53 percent of all children that age.

The data revealed that progress is possible, however. In Connecticut and New Jersey, only 34 percent and 36 percent of young learners were respectively not in school during that same time period. Well below the national average, the report ranks Connecticut and New Jersey in the top three states for education.

The report argues that in order for the country’s workforce to compete on a global scale, providing strong and healthy beginnings to all children is a critical goal moving forward.

Read the full report.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

6/21/2016

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