States Spending Less on Preschools

Funding cuts are eroding quality of state-subsidized preschool programs.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The state is spending less on preschools, according to a new study.

    Preschoolers are feeling the pinch.

    States are spending less on government-subsidized preschools, according to a report released Monday night by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

    In fact, from 2010-11, funding for government-subsidized pre-kindergarten programs dropped by almost $60 million.  And, from 2001 to 2011, spending per child plummeted nationwide by more than $700.

    In California, the picture for early education has grown more bleak.  During the 2011-12 budget cycle, California sliced its preschool funding by $70 million.  Now, Gov. Jerry Brown wants to reduce funding by $180 million, or 23 percent.

    Currently, California's state preschools are under-performing.  They meet just three of the required benchmarks on the State of Preschool report's quality checklist, which includes low student-teacher ratios, curriculum standards and staff qualifications and training.

    The U.S. Secretary of Education is urging policymakers not to sacrifice the quality of their programs.  She said glorified baby-sitting is not the way to go.

    Education experts say the goal of state preschool programs is to prepare children to excel socially, emotionally and academically in kindergarten and beyond.