A report from the Education Commission of the States reveals that in 2014-15 state appropriations for pre-K increased by $672 million to a total of $6.3 billion. This is a 12 percent increase in state investment over the previous fiscal year. The increase comes at a time when President Obama and other federal lawmakers are trying to jumpstart national programs to boost early childhood learning.
- Twenty-eight states plus the District of Columbia increased funding, 11 states were flat, and 5 states maintained flat funding.
- Largest increases: California 78.6%, South Carolina 51.3%, Michigan 37.3%, Rhode Island 36.4%, Ohio 36.1%
- Hawaii and Utah made first-time investments in pre-K of $3 million each: in Utah through the “Utah School Readiness Initiative,” and in Hawaii through the “Executive Office of Early Learning Pre-kindergarten Program.”
- Six states provided no pre-K funding in 2014-15: Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
While funding is important, though, the report notes that the quality standards for the preschool programs matter too. “Ensuring the quality of current programs is a necessary and required step. Therefore, as policymakers continue to invest in and expand access to their state’s pre-K programs, they should ensure that high-quality standards are in place for state-funded preschools to follow,” concludes the authors.
Read State Pre-K Funding: 2014-15 fiscal year from the Education Commission of the States.