A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America

| April 22, 2015
A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America
New Report by the U.S. Department of Education

All parents hope their child will start school ready for success. Unfortunately, not every parent can find the high-quality early learning opportunity that sets their child up for success.

On April 7th the U.S. Department of Education released a new report outlining the unmet need for high-quality early learning programs in America. Roughly 6 in 10 four-year-olds are not enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs, and even fewer are enrolled in the highest quality programs.

While both states and the federal government invest in early learning, these efforts have fallen short of what is needed to ensure that all children can access a high-quality early education that will prepare them for success.
Significant new investments in high-quality early education are necessary to help states, local communities, and parents close the readiness gap that exists between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers.

For Latino children, the unmet need is especially great. While Latinos are the fastest growing and largest minority group in the United States, making up a quarter of 3- and 4-year-olds, Latinos demonstrate the lowest preschool participation rates of any major ethnicity or race.

Congress took an important step in 2014 to address inequities in access to high-quality preschool by supporting the Preschool Development Grants program, a 4-year, federal-state partnership to expand the number of children enrolled in high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities. Thirty-five states and Puerto Rico applied, but due – in part – to limited funding, only 18 grants were awarded.

Preschool Development Grants will not cover every child in the funded states; however, these states will be another step closer to the goal of expanding access to high-quality early learning across the country. Over the 4-year grant period, and with continued funding from Congress, these states are expecting to enroll an additional 177,000 children in high-quality preschool programs, which will help put children on a path to success in school and in life.

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Category: General

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