Funding for early-childhood education declined between 2009 and 2010, even as the Obama administration urged states to increase pre-kindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a study released Tuesday.
Total state funding for such programs declined by $30 million nationwide as states scrambled to make up for budget shortfalls, according to the the National Institute for Early Education Research, based at Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. Meanwhile, state funding for K-12 education increased slightly.
“Overall, state cuts to pre-K transformed the recession into a depression for many young children,” the report said.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged states to cut other programs before removing funding from early-childhood education, but such advice was rejected across the country.
Duncan said yesterday that the cuts present “real challenges to young people who are desperately fighting to enter the mainstream.”
The study found that 26 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in pre-K last year — far below the administration’s targets. Forty states have such programs.