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Interactive Map: The Preschool-Access Gap

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See also: Federal Investment Can Help Close the Preschool-Access Gap by Juliana Herman and Melissa Lazarín

Across the country, states are leading the charge on early childhood education by making significant commitments to expand access to preschool. But no state is doing enough. Too many 3- and 4-year-olds are left out of state-funded pre-K programs. In fact, some states have no program at all. Among states with programs, the quality varies greatly, with many states failing to meet high-quality benchmarks.

The preschool-access gap extends beyond just state-funded programs; too few children are enrolled in any program, whether publicly or privately funded. The access gap is especially acute for children living below the poverty line, but children above the poverty line also need greater access to preschool. Every state needs to do more to expand access and improve quality. A strong federal investment is essential to helping states reach these goals.

Juliana Herman is a Policy Analyst with the Education Policy team at the Center for American Progress. Sasha Post is Special Advisor to CAP President and CEO Neera Tanden. Melissa Lazarín is Director of Education Policy at the Center.

Sources

State-funded pre-K (not enrolled)

Derived from data in the National Institute for Early Education Research, “The State of Preschool 2011” (2011), available at http://nieer.org/sites/nieer/files/2011yearbook.pdf;  U.S. Census Bureau, “American Community Survey 2011 1-Year Estimates,” table B09001.

Federal- and state-funded pre-K (not enrolled)

Derived from data in the National Institute for Early Education Research, “The State of Preschool 2011.”

In any pre-K program

U.S. Census Bureau, “American Community Survey 2011 1-Year Estimates,” tables B09001, B14001.

In any pre-K program, living below the poverty line

U.S. Census Bureau, “American Community Survey 2011 1-Year Estimates,” tables B09001, B17001, B14006.

For each state, the percent of the total number of children under 5 who are ages 3 or 4 in that state was used to estimate the number of children under 5 who are ages 3 or 4 and living below the poverty line.

In any pre-K program, living above the poverty line

U.S. Census Bureau, “American Community Survey 2011 1-Year Estimates,” tables B09001, B17001, B14006.

For each state, the percent of the total number of children under 5 who are ages 3 or 4 in that state was used to estimate the number of children under 5 who are ages 3 or 4 and living above the poverty line.

Program quality

Determined using data in the National Institute for Early Education Research, “The State of Preschool 2011.”

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund, women's issues)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention, the National Security Agency)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (energy and environment, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org