- The Learning Policy Institute, a Palo Alto, CA nonprofit, released a research brief, “The Building Blocks of High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs,” for California educators that cites the importance of linking preschool funding allocations with school quality.
- The researchers came up with 10 “building blocks” they say account for high quality schools, including teacher qualifications, comprehensive standards and parent engagement.
- Average costs for "high quality" programs were estimated to be $8,521 per pupil for a class of 20 students or $10,375 per pupil for a class of 15 students in a full-time year-round program taught by an educator holding a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
More and more states are considering the implementation of early childhood education. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 450 bills with some tie to early childhood are now pending in 46 states, and a recent Education Commission of the States report showed state funding for preschool programs increased in 32 states and in the District of Columbia by $755 million between 2015 and 2016. In 2015, the 50 state legislatures in the U.S. introduced a total of 924 early education-related proposals, including some that proposed mandating quality rating systems.
The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mandates the permanence of pre-existing Preschool Development Grants, which are designed to “support coordination and alignment of states’ early learning systems” and “expand access to preschool."
Districts considering expanding pre-K should look to California, where a successful state-mandated “transitional kindergarten” (TK) program serves 83,000 students. An American Institutes for Research study says the program has been largely beneficial. The major difference between TK and regular preschool is TK teachers must have bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials.