The 40 states with state preschool programs, along with the District of Columbia, spent $116 million more on public preschool in the 2013-14 school year than they did in 2012-13, according to the latest pre-K yearbook released last week by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey. That brought total spending to $5.56 billion in 2013-14, a 1 percent increase in real dollars over the previous year.
The report also found that state-funded preschool served 1.3 million children in 2013-14. Enrollment increased overall by 8,535 children.
In all, 29 percent of 4-year-olds and 4 percent of 3-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded preschool. Including Head Start, 41.5 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled and 14.5 percent of 3-year-olds.
The report’s authors praised states for new spending and expanded enrollment, but cautioned that the growth rate was too slow.
“At the 2013-2014 growth rate, it would take about 75 years for states to reach 50 percent enrollment at age 4 and 150 years to reach 70 percent enrollment,” the report says.
A few states that made notable policy changes in 2014 are not included in the report, though the authors do acknowledge the changes. Indiana and Mississippi, two states without 2013-14 state-funded preschool programs, both launched new programs in 2014. Hawaii and Montana, two other states without programs in 2013-14, were recipients of federal grants meant to support state-funded preschool.
A version of this article appeared in the May 20, 2015 edition of Education Week as Pre-K Sees Some Rises in Enrollment, Spending