Millions of pre-schoolers lack access to affordable, high-quality education opportunities.
- High-quality pre-school increases a child’s chances of success in school and in life. Children who attend are less likely to be held back a grade or to need special education. They have higher earnings as adults and are less likely to receive welfare or commit crime.
- Nearly 50 percent of all kindergarten teachers report that at least half of their students come to school with problems that hinder their success.
- Only 30 percent of 4-year-olds and 7 percent of 3-year-olds are served by pre-k programs prior to kindergarten, and 12 states have no regular state preschool education program. The majority of states do not provide enough funding to fully meet quality standards.
- Federal funding for the Head Start early education and nutrition program was cut by 5.7% from 2005 to 2008.
- Head Start serves only about 18% of eligible children age birth to five years and their families.
- Head Start received an increase of $2 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but declines in access, quality standards, and resources were still unavoidable as a consequence of the recession.
- Pre-Kindergarten Education Programs Lead to Better Future Educational Performance – Low-income children who attend pre-school programs perform at higher levels than those who do not. Children attending high-quality programs had one or more of the following outcomes: lower special education rates, lower grade retention rates, higher achievement test scores, higher high school graduation rates, and higher post secondary enrollment rates.
- Pre-Kindergarten Education Programs Help the Economy Thrive – The average benefits from a universally accessible pre-school education program at ages 3 and 4 are estimated to be at least $25,000 per child, substantially more than the costs. The estimated cost- per-child (mixing half day, school day, and full day programs) is $8-$17K for two years.