The State of PreSchool Yearbook

2016 State of Preschool Yearbook by NIEER

In May 2017, the latest annual report, "2016 State of Preschool Yearbook" by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) was released.  This report has been a regular release for over a decade.  It sets benchmarks to measure each state's progress in their publicly funded, often referred to as "prek for all" programs.  This year, NIEER updated the benchmarks for the first time to include a better measurement of quality of the programs.

Why does this matter to you?  Well, it depends who you are.  

  • Parents:  Depending on the state have an option for free preschool.  Is it a quality program?  Is it only for families with low income?  What age?  Is it full day?  How might it compare to a private program?  Is public preschool better than no preschool at all?
  • Private Providers: Does your state provide full day options?  How does your care differ from the state's care?  Know it so you can tell parents.  Does your state have a choice option so that they fund private programs with public dollars?  Read the report and understand how prek for all adds to or detracts from your business so you can create a solution.
  • CACFP Sponsors or dieticians: Are the schools participating on the food program?  Are they feeding the children the school lunch meals that very well could be serving sizes that are not appropriate for young children?  Could they schools use some education and motivation to service the prek children different foods or serving sizes?

PreK for All - Is it good?  Is it bad?

I don't have an answer for you.  What we do know is that prek and quality care in the early years has been proven to make a difference in outcomes for adult lives, especially those raised in families with low income.  Research such as the Perry Preschool Study and the Heckman Equation are just two that are often referred to as advocates move from local to state to federal governments to change policy and get funding for such programs.  Preschool for all IS a necessity, it's just the HOW that is controversial.

This report will give you some footing to begin establishing your opinion.   Read the whole thing or just your state's fact sheet.  And then take action.  Make it better, consider being part of it or just understand how to tell parents how your program offers better or different things when they talk to you.  Knowledge is power.  Take a look.

From the Press Release

States meeting all current benchmarks should be proud of their accomplishments,” said NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett Ph.D. “But simply meeting the benchmarks does not guarantee children are receiving a high-quality classroom experience. That’s why we’ve introduced major revisions to our assessment of state policies, raising the bar for what it means to
support pre-K quality.”

Highlights of the 2016 Yearbook include:
 More states than ever — 43 plus the District of Columbia and this year, Guam— provide publicly funded preschool
 State-funded preschool program enrollment reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children, 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. The District of Columbia, Florida, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin had highest enrollment among 4-year-olds, all serving more than 70 percent
 State funding for preschool rose 8 percent to about $7.4 billion, a $550 million increase driven mostly by additional spending in California and Texas
 State funding per child increased 5 percent to $4,967, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time
 Alabama and Rhode Island are the only states meeting all 10 new (and current) benchmarks
 Federal Preschool Development Grants helped 18 states make strides in funding, enrollment and quality
 Just four states require teachers of dual language learners to have special qualifications
The 2016 State of Preschool Yearbook shows most states have made serious efforts to provide adequate preschool funding, although Florida, for example, falls far short of providing adequate funding for quality. And 21 states still enroll fewer than 1 in 10 4-year-olds in state pre-K, including the seven states than have no state-funded pre-K.
— NIEER Press Release:

Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building