Total spending on public preschool, adjusted for inflation, has surpassed pre-recession levels for the first time since 2008, according to the latest data from the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER, a think tank in New Jersey focused on early education.
The 42 states with public preschool programs and the District of Columbia spent $6.2 billion to serve 1.4 million 3- and 4-year-olds in the 2014-15 school year. Total enrollment increased by a single percentage point, from 28 percent to 29 percent of 4-year-olds and from 4 percent to 5 percent of 3-year-olds, compared with 2010.
Some states made big strides, though. New York City’s new universal preschool program for 4-year-olds enrolled more than 12,000 additional children in preschool in 2014-15. Factoring in statewide spending, New York state accounted for two-thirds of the national spending increase and enrolled 5 percent more children in 2014-15 than in 2013-14.
A version of this article appeared in the May 18, 2016 edition of Education Week as Preschool