Across the country, states spent $6.2 billion on pre-K programs in 2014-15, a $553 million increase.
These programs served nearly 1.4 million students, up more than 37,000 from the previous year.
The National Institute for Early Education Research chronicled these increases in a recent report — and noted something that isn’t news to Idahoans. Idaho remains one of only eight states without state-funded pre-K. (Earlier this year, another report said Idaho was one of only five states that does not fund pre-K.)
“Idaho’s economic future depends on early investment in its youngest citizens,” Institute Director Steve Barnett said in a news release. “Ensuring that every child has access to high-quality preschool can help to pave the way for their success in school, on the job, and in Idaho communities.”
A small percentage of Idaho preschoolers have access to early education, according to the New Brunswick, N.J.-based institute.
- In all, 1,568 3-year-olds were enrolled in special education and Head Start programs in 2014-15 — or 6.9 percent of the state’s 3-year-olds.
- Meanwhile, 3,114 4-year-olds attended special education and Head Start in 2014-15, a 13.3 percent enrollment rate.
These enrollment numbers were virtually unchanged from 2013-14.
The report listed one potential bright spot: a 2015 “Pay for Success” state contract law that could encourage outside groups to invest in pre-K. A nonprofit group, the Lee Pesky Early Learning Center, is looking at applying the contract model to early literacy instruction.