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Report: Fewer KY Dollars Invested in Pre-School Ed

December 13, 2010

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Even as most states grapple with shrinking coffers and deficits, most are keeping their commitments to preschool programs. However, Kentucky is not among them. A new report by the Pew Center on the States found that the Commonwealth is one of ten states that has cut funding for pre-Kindergarten programs.

Marci Young, director of "Pre-K Now," a campaign of the Pew Center, says the drop is significant.

"Our report shows that there was a decrease in investment in Kentucky by $2.6 million. So now, there's a total investment of $72.5 million, whereas last year there was $75.1 million. "

Young says pre-K is one of the most well-researched public education strategies over the last 40 years, and the vast body of evidence proves its benefits to kids in school and in life, as well as overall savings to states.

"High quality pre-K helps reduce grade repetition and special education placements. It increases high school graduation rates, reduces crime and delinquency, and leads to greater employment and higher earnings as adults."

Young says preschool programs are part of a larger learning track, and its progress is best measured by education policies from kindergarten through high school.

"We should invest in what we know works for kids, and we know that pre-K works. We also know it's not a silver bullet. Any successful pre-K program should be part of a larger school reform effort."

Young says that despite widespread belt-tightening, 26 states and the District of Columbia have managed to maintain bipartisan support for pre-Kindergarten for this year, with an overall increase in state funding to $5.4 billion.

The Pew Center report is at www.preknow.org

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY