Preschool enrollment, state-funding stalls

Posted at 5:17 PM, May 12, 2016

A new national report says thousands of three- and four-year-olds are missing out on a valuable pre-K education.

The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University says the country's preschools are in dire need of funding.

But, at the Educare Denver School and Clayton Early Learning, students are bucking the trend.

"You may hear children using language you'd expect to hear in a science lab," said Charlotte Brantley, President and CEO of Clayton Early Learning. "Things like I'm going to do a study. I'm going to investigate something."

The NIEER report includes state-by-state rankings for 2014-2015. New York made notable progress to increase enrollment and funding.

California, Florida and Texas, which enroll almost 40 percent of children in state-funded pre-K, had low quality standards. Florida and Texas reduced funding.

"College begins right here in preschool," said Brantley.

The report says the average state-funded pre-K costs almost $4,500 a year.

"It's a pretty expensive proposition for a parent, alone, to have to cover that cost," said Brantley.

The Educare Denver School is funded by a mix of public and private dollars. Brantley says parents also contribute, if possible.

Meanwhile, nationwide enrollment has stalled, rising one percent in the last five years.

The report warns, at the current rate, it will take more than 150 years to reach 75 percent pre-K enrollment for low-income families.