In an open letter to Obama printed in The Washington Post, Elaine Weiss, the national coordinator for the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, and Cassie Schwerner, senior vice president of programs at the Schott Foundation for Public Education, stated that low-income kids “have less access and exposure to early development opportunities, which can leave them unprepared for Kindergarten and in danger of falling further and further behind their better-off peers.”
This is happening too often in the U.S. We are ranked 28th in the percentage of four-year-olds in early childhood education, with a 69 percent enrollment rate, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
This is less than most other countries in the OECD report. On average the other countries (including France, the U.K., and Japan) had an 84 percent enrollment.
There are only 1.3 million children in America who attend a state preschool program. Of these, 1.1 million are four-year-olds, accounting for 28 percent of the four-year-old population, according to The National Institute of Early Education’s State of Preschool 2011 report.
National Catholic Education Association reported that they had 154,282 children enrolled in their preschools during the 2011-2012 year.
While the typical starting age for early childhood education is four years old in the U.S., it is three years old or younger in 21 OECD countries.
Photo: National Institute of Early Education