High-quality preschool offers one of the most cost-effective ways to increase equity in education and expand opportunity for young learners. Federal- and state-led efforts since 2009 have helped our country move closer to the goal of providing access to quality preschool for all children. Preschool enrollment has grown in over 30 states since 2009 and 46 states now offer state-funded preschool for young children. Additionally, 38 states and Washington, D.C., have invested more than an additional $1.5 billion in support of preschool.
However, a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) shows that while pre-k education is expanding across the country, access to high-quality preschool remains low and unequal. Thousands of children from low- and middle-income families and communities still do not have access to quality preschool.
The U.S. Department of Education hopes to address this and ensure equal access across the country by providing additional funding opportunities to states. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed in December, provides multiple opportunities for states and schools to use federal funding for early education. These funds shouldn’t be used solely for expanding access alone – they must be leveraged to increase the quality of these programs as well. As states begin to secure these new funds for early education, they will need will need to work closely with reseller and vendor partners to ensure they’re being used effectively.
Source: Department of Education