Brief | October 1, 2015

An Overview of State Pre-K Programs

Need proof that preschool works? Here are some examples of state pre-K programs that prove investments in high­-quality early childhood education programs yield short-­ and long­-term returns to the economy

The Problem: Businesses need employees who are job-ready, team capable, and well-prepared – but we’re not getting them:

  • The majority of fourth and eighth graders are not proficient in math and reading in all 50 U.S. states

  • 32% of students in all 65 participating countries and economies reached the baseline proficiency level on the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) mathematics assessment

  • 71% of young people ages 17 to 24 cannot qualify to serve in the U.S. military – standards similar to those many employers use

A Solution: This failing workforce pipeline can be repaired, but we have to start early. The foundation of many skills needed for 21st-century jobs is established in the earliest years.

  • Young children’s brains develop 700 synapses – neural connections that support learning and skills – every second. By age 3, a child’s brain has reached about 85% of its adult weight.

  • An overview of 56 studies across 23 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central/South America found impacts of early childhood programs on health, IQ, and emotional development.

  • Child care and preschool professionals generally spend most of their earnings locally. States realize roughly $2 in local spending for each child care dollar spent.