Pre-K study finds that states' total spending on early childhood education dropped by more than $400 per pupil for the 2011-12 school year – and about $1,100 per pupil over a decade.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP/File
The 2011-12 school year was not a good one for pre-K funding, for enrollment, or for quality, according to a major new survey.
States' funding overall dropped by more than half a billion dollars – its biggest one-year drop ever. After a decade of growth, enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs stalled. State funding per child fell by more than $400; counting previous drops, state per-pupil spending decreased by more than $1,100 over the prior decade. And quality also slipped in a number of state programs.
“What was surprising was not that the recession hurt [pre-K programs], but that it hurt so much,” says Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, which released the annual “State of Preschool” 2012 yearbook Monday. “The one indicator that increased was inequality, because some states have continued to move ahead, while other states are moving backwards.”
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