Shrinking Budgets Slow Pre-K Expansion Nationwide

The expansion in public prekindergarten programs has slowed and even been reversed in some states as school districts cope with shrinking budgets.

As a result, lots of preschoolers aren't going to school to learn their ABCs.

Kids from low-income families who start kindergarten without attending a quality preschool enter school about 18 months behind peers. Many never catch up, and research shows they are more likely to need special education services and to drop out.

Yet, roughly a quarter of the nation's 4-year-olds and more than half of 3-year-olds attend no preschool.

Steven Barnett is director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. He says as more families fall into poverty, they are finding that public prekindergarten slots aren't available.

Earlier this year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a budget that cut funding for N.C. Pre-K, the state's educational program for at-risk 4-year-olds, by 20 percent, or $32 million. Statewide, it equates to 6,300 fewer spots.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by thanks jess Location: wash on Jan 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM
    to jess thank you for your great comment its true but some people don't see it that way.
  • by Parent on Jan 17, 2012 at 07:40 AM
    Most of the money is being spent on illegals kids! We need to control the borders!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 06:05 AM
    Parents must take FULL responsibility for their own children. Simply put if you CAN'T afford to take of them (health care, child care, food, clothing, etc) then DON'T have them. It's the PARENTS responsibility to prepare their kids for kindergarten not the STATE.
  • by Jess Location: Choco on Jan 17, 2012 at 05:26 AM
    My son went to pre-k and I'm so glad I sent him. It was a great place for him to come out of his seperation anxiety. My niece was in the same class as him and it helped her over come her shyness. But pre-k is more than just "social time", they are teaching them what school will be like from day to day. They expect a lot more from children in kindergarten these days. They are doing simple addition, writing sentences, and reading books. It's no longer ABC and counting to 10 in kindergarten! Kindergarten is the new 1st grade! So no, pre-k isn't free public daycare via our tax dollars. Pre-k is alot different than it use to be.
  • by amy on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:38 AM
    It's just public day-care via our tax $. I went straight into kindergarten a age 5 and did fine in school. My mother taught me the ABCs before I got there. Imagine that. Eventually I got a college scholarship and graduated by working part time jobs. I was a cashier queen for a few years but I made it.
  • by Formerly Pirateman on Jan 17, 2012 at 03:14 AM
    GOOD!!!! Positive news!!!
  • by why Location: enc on Jan 17, 2012 at 03:12 AM
    A wise person once told voiced their opinion and I tend to agree~~ Why not let 17 year old students enter college earlier if their grades are appropriate, get ride of 12th grade NOT pre-k
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 02:54 AM
    It doesn't take a college degree to for parents to prepare their own children for kindergarten.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2012 at 06:02 AM in reply to
      Yes, but it takes peronsal responsibility. something lacking in the current culture. universal pre-k would ensure all kids arrive ready for kindergarten. Better learning environement for all. start kids off with tools to succeed rather than fail. Just a thought.
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