pre-school

Facts

The federal government got involved in pre-school education almost 40 years ago with the passage of Head Start. This program creates pre-k programs for lower income four year olds. The adoption of Head Start helped lead to the rise of pre-schools across the board, and today a majority of 3-5 year old children are enrolled in some sort of early education program. States have also joined the effort, funding public pre-kindergarten programs independent of Head Start. While Head Start is popular on both sides of the aisle, critics say its benefits (or lack of), don't justify its cost.

Enrollment

NCES

Percentage of 3-5 year olds in:

  • pre-school (including kindergarten): 64% (2001):
  • public pre-school 41% (2001):
  • private pre-school: 23% (2001):

4-year-old enrollment:

  • Total: 66%
  • Public: 37%
  • Private 30%

5-year-old enrollment:

  • Total: 87%
  • Public: 71%
  • Private: 15.5%

over the years

source: NCES

In public schools

Percent of all public schools that offer pre-kindergarten programs (2000-2001):

  • Total: 35% NCES (pdf)

    • Full-day only: 13% NCES (pdf)
    • Half-day only: 19% NCES (pdf)
    • Both full-day and half-day: 3% NCES (pdf)
  • General Education only: 20% NCES
  • Special Education only: 8% NCES
  • Both general and special education: 8% NCES

Funding

State funding for Pre-K (2003):

  • $2.5 billion (according to NIEER)
  • $2.9 billion (includes $0.2 billion in funds for Head Start) (according to HHS)

Average per child served:

Federal Head Start funding (proposed 2006) $6.9 billion HHS

Spending per child served: $7,089 (2003) NIEER

Federal funding for other pre-school and child care programs:

  • $10 billion (2003) HHS

State funding for other child care programs:

  • $3 billion (2003) HHS

Total State and Federal funding on pre-school and child-care:

  • $23 billion (2003) HHS

Where the facts are from

updated July 1, 2005

Did we miss something, let some slant slip in, lose a link - or do you just have something to say? Drop a line below! In the spirit of open dialogue, cJ asks you keep it civil, keep it real and keep it focused on the message, not the messenger. See our policy page for more on what that all means.

Posted In