Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kentucky State Pre-K Program Improves Quality, Increases Enrollment

Budget Ax Fells Funding Rank

National annual survey labels recession’s impact
‘a depression for many young children’

Kentucky’s pre-K program made gains in enrollment and quality, according to the annual survey of state-funded preschool programs released today.

“The State of Preschool 2010 showed that more preschoolers were enrolled in the Kentucky Preschool Program, a program that for the first time met nine of 10 benchmarks for quality,” said W. Steven Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and author of the report. While additional federal and local funds increased overall spending, cuts in state funding for Kentucky’s pre-K program caused the state to rank 30th, down from 24th last year.

Nationwide, Barnett warned that preschool-age children felt the effects of the recession for the second year in a row only the impact was far greater the second year.

“Overall, state cuts to preschool funding transformed the recession into a depression for many young children,” said Barnett.

“In the 2009-2010 school year the effects of the recession became fully apparent despite federal government aid to the states for education,” Barnett said. “Total enrollment barely increased over the prior year. Total spending by the states decreased, and per-child spending declined in inflation-adjusted dollars.”

The funding situation may get worse even as the economy slowly recovers. Federal funds to help states weather the recession are now gone. Without the aid from the federal economic stimulus, funding per child would have been even lower, approaching its lowest level since 2002 when NIEER began tracking state preschool performance.

The depth of the decline varied considerably by state. A few made modest progress. Many held steady. In others, cutbacks were sometimes severe...

SOURCE: National Institute for Early Education Research Press release

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