The United States, according to the OECD, invests much less public funds into early childhood programs than the G-20 countries, which include 19 countries and the European Union.
At the state level, there are 11 states that do not have state-funded preschool programs. Arizona became the most recent state to eliminate theirs because they could not afford it.
There is a large gap between what states have been spending on preschool. New Jersey spends the most per child at $11,669, whereas South Carolina is only spending $1,342 per student.
Given these dire stats, pre-K education is at the top of many states’ agendas. For example, Mississippi’s Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn announced a bill that would provide matching funds to local early childhood education programs through various avenues, including public school districts, private and parochial schools, private childcare centers, and Head Start.
Republican Missouri Governor Jay Nixon also recently touted the importance of early education. He said, “Early childhood education is a smart investment with a very big return. Study after study confirms what parents and educators see each day firsthand: the first five years of a child’s development have an impact that last a lifetime.”
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