Hard Times Derail Growth of State-Funded Preschool
Early-education programs are struggling to serve all the children who qualify for them, as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has caused states to slash budgets and reduce spending, according to an annual survey of state-funded programs by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.
Expansion of state-funded preschool was slower in 2009 and more uneven than in previous years, even though total enrollment and spending increased overall, the institute found. With more parents relying on publicly funded preschool as their incomes fell, enrollment declined in nine states, while other states limited enrollment. Twelve states, including Idaho and New Hampshire, provide no state-funded preschool.
“Last year, we saw continued rapid progress but threats of cuts,” said W. Steven Barnett, a co-director of the institute, based in New Brunswick, N.J. “This year [2008-09] we saw the pace of growth in enrollment slow and real spending per child decrease after...
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