New fact sheets show families’ access to quality preschool and child care in Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, and Georgia.
Washington, D.C. — Today, as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Chattanooga, Tennessee, Mayor Andy Berke (D) visited the Center for American Progress to discuss the importance of investing in early childhood programs, CAP released a series of fact sheets that reveal the state of early childhood access and child care in 10 states.
Focused on Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, and Georgia, the fact sheets reveal where each of these states stand relative to other states in preschool per-student funding. The fact sheets also demonstrate that child care remains out of reach for many working- and middle-class families; a recent CAP report, “The Middle-Class Squeeze,” showed that the annual cost of child care exceeds the median rent costs in every state. Preschool programs are equally costly.
At CAP, Gov. McAuliffe outlined why Virginia urgently needs additional investments in early childhood to ensure the programs are high quality and to expand access. In Virginia, 36 percent of children under age 6 live in low-income families. The stress that often comes with living in poverty can also adversely affect brain development in children’s early years. High-quality early education has been proven to alleviate these risk factors and help close the school-readiness gap. For a typical family with an infant and a 4-year-old in Virginia, the average cost of child care at a center amounts to one-third of annual income, and Virginia is one of 31 states where the cost of child care is higher than in-state tuition and fees at a public college.
“My top priority as governor is building a new Virginia economy that is strong, diverse, and capable of weathering the federal budget storms that regularly rage through our commonwealth,” said Gov. McAuliffe. “A key part of reaching that goal is the recognition that educational opportunity and job opportunity go hand in hand.”
CAP also welcomed Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, who led a panel discussion about how early childhood programs are making a difference in local communities. In Hamilton County, Tennessee, where Chattanooga is located, approximately 1,000 out of the 4,000 babies born yearly are at risk of not being ready for school. Tennessee ranks 16 of 41 states on per-preschool-student spending and spends $4,611 per student on preschool, which is above the national average. The state serves 21 percent of 4-year-olds and 1 percent of 3-year-olds, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research.
“In Chattanooga, we invest in opportunities for our youngest citizens, like Early Head Start and Baby University, because education is an investment—not an expense,” said Mayor Berke. “Creating opportunity for young people through strengthening family and education will not just pay off today or tomorrow, but for generations to come.”
“Devoting resources to early childhood education is an investment that will pay dividends for years to come. If we want a workforce that is ready for college and career and that is prepared to meet the demands of a 21st century economy, early childhood education is the place to start,” said Neera Tanden, President of CAP. “Around the world, other nations are recognizing the importance of early childhood. Staying globally competitive means we must invest in our youngest Americans.”
Click here to view the fact sheets on the state of early childhood education and child care, and click here see the rest of CAP’s research on these subjects.
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Allison Preiss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.6331.