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States Are Increasing Pre-K Funding, Report Finds

States Are Increasing Nationwide Pre-K Funding, Report Finds

Recent data from the Education Commission of the States finds that states across the nation are increasing their funding for prekindergarten programs. 

"For the third year in a row both Republican and Democratic policymakers are making significant investments in state-funded pre-K programs," the report read on the Education Commission of the States's official site. "An analysis of 2014-15 appropriations by the 50 states and the District of Columbia shows the following key findings:

National overview:

  • Nationwide, state funding for pre-K increased by $672 million, to a total of $6.3 billion. This is a 12 percent increase in state investment in pre-K programs over fiscal year 2013-14. This year’s increase builds on a 6.9 percent funding increase from the prior year.
  • Only six states provided no state funding for pre-K: Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

State-by-state

  • Of the 44 states plus the District of Columbia funding pre-K programs serving primarily 4-year-olds, 28 states and the District of Columbia increased their total investment in pre-K, with 10 of those states increasing funding by more than 20 percent.
  • Thirty-seven individual programs received an increase in funding.
  • Five states decreased funding.
  • Funding remained flat in 11 states.
  • Of the 44 states, 25 had Republican governors and 19 had Democratic governors.

State examples

  • California increased its funding by two-thirds with a rise of 79 percent.
  • Both Hawaii and Utah made first-time investments in pre-K of $3 million each. In Utah through the 'Utah School Readiness Initiative, 'and in Hawaii through the 'Executive Office of Early Learning Pre-kindergarten Program.'"

The report includes a chart looking at the nation showing that states such as Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois, Wyoming, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, New York, Vermont, Alaska and Massachusetts all have flat funding for pre-K programs. States including California, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut all have increased funding. Nevada, Oklahoma, Florida, Tennessee and Maine all have seen a funding decrease for the fiscal year of 2013-14 and 2014-15.

"The age at which students enter pre-K is a critical period for cognitive, social and behavioral development and lays the foundation for future success in school and life," the report said. "It is in the pre-K classroom where students develop the soft skills needed for future success, such as the management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others. These essential skills support early reading and math aptitude, predict later academic achievement and help children learn what is necessary to be kindergarten-ready."

Read the full report and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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