WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a new study released today from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), state funding for pre-K decreased by more than half a billion dollars across the nation in 2011-2012, the largest one-year drop ever.
These findings were discussed today at a press conference in Washington, D.C. hosted by NIEER and moderated by LAUP CEO Celia C. Ayala. The panel included Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Vanguard Chairman Emeritus Jack Brennan and NIEER Director Steve Barnett.
"The challenges identified in this year's yearbook show more than half a million children nationwide were served by programs that met fewer than half of NIEER's quality standards benchmarks," said Ayala. "This is unacceptable. Our children are paying the price and as a nation, we must focus on both access and quality so that children are better prepared for school, which will have a lasting positive affect for their entire academic and professional career."
Unfortunately, California's ranking in spending per child for pre-K dropped from 13th in the nation in 2011 to 16th in 2012. Quality standards for California pre-K are low but the state did gain one of NIEER's ten benchmarks for quality and now achieves four out of ten. To see the full report, visit http://nieer.org/yearbook.
"In Los Angeles County, more than 30,000 children did not attend preschool and many more attended programs with insufficient resources and training to make them ready for kindergarten," continued Ayala. "It is unfortunate because if a child is exposed to a quality pre-k program, he or she will likely become more confident, have better language and literacy skills, and is four times more likely to attend college," noted Ayala. "The roadmap to success for our country is to invest in quality preschool because education in the years before kindergarten plays an important role in preparing our youngest citizens for productive lives in the global economy."
About LAUP: Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) is a non-profit network of more than 300 preschool sites, established to fund a free or low-cost, quality preschool education to the children of Los Angeles County in order to better prepare four-year-olds to succeed in school. LAUP has raised the level of quality preschool programs throughout the county by advancing teacher training, enriching curricula and offering a safe and nurturing environment for more than 60,000 preschoolers since 2005. LAUP is funded in part by First 5 LA. www.laup.net.
SOURCE Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP)