The State of Preschool 2011 Yearbook, just released by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, shows national investments in pre-K programs have dropped to historic levels while enrollment in most states has swollen.

This report strengthens the argument that more must be done to expand quality early education opportunities for all children. Just 28 percent of all 4-year-olds and four percent of all three-year-olds attend pre-K programs. 11 states have no state-run pre-K programs at all.

Funding for pre-K programs dropped by $145 per student in the last school year alone, compared to the previous year.

One stark statistic detailed in the 2011 yearbook is that only seven states require pre-K teachers to have the same level of preparation and pay as kindergarten teachers.

Find data on every state’s pre-k services here.

This report comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement that 5 states are eligible to win new funding for the Race to the Top- Early Learning Challenge Grants, which aims to expand access to quality early education opportunities, a critical component for a child to come prepared to learn in kindergarten and first grade. Last December 9 states were awarded the first-ever Early Learning Challenge Grants.

 

-By Emily Rohlffs