The State of Preschool 2011

The 2011 State Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2010-2011 school year as well as documenting a decade of progress since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. Tracking these trends is essential to ensuring states prioritize early childhood education, which influences how successfully America's future generations will compete in a global knowledge economy.

Twenty-eight percent of America’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program in the 2010-2011 school year, indicating the importance of ensuring quality in existing programs and expanding access to all children. The National Institute for Early Education Research has developed the State Preschool Yearbook series to provide information on the availability and quality of services offered through these programs to children at ages 3 and 4 and serve as a resource to policymakers and educators seeking to start all young learners on the right foot.

The 2011 Yearbook is organized into three major sections. The first section offers a summary of the data, and describes national trends for enrollment in, quality of, and spending on state-funded preschool. The second section presents detailed profiles outlining each state's policies with respect to preschool access, quality standards, and resources for the 2010-2011 program year. In addition to providing basic program descriptions, these state profiles describe unique features of a state's program and recent changes that can be expected to alter the future Yearbook information on a program. As in previous Yearbooks, profile pages are included for states without state-funded programs. A description of our methodology follows the state profiles. The last section of the report contains appendices, which are available online only. The appendices include tables that provide the complete 2010-2011 survey data obtained from every state, as well as Head Start, child care, U.S. Census, and special education data.

While parents strive to guide children's growth and development in the home, state and local governments bear primary responsibility for classroom-based education in the United States, with some help from federal guaranteed loan funding. Programs that serve young children operate under a variety of names and auspices, including the federal Head Start program as well as privately and publicly funded child care. State prekindergarten programs play an increasingly important role as part of this larger array of programs. The 2011 Yearbook seeks to improve the public's knowledge and understanding of state efforts to expand the availability of high-quality education to young children in the 21st century. We hope that this report will serve as a resource for policymakers, advocates, and researchers to make more informed decisions as state-funded preschool education moves forward to another decade of progress.

Suggested citation style:

Barnett, W.S., Carolan, M.E., Fitzgerald, J., & Squires, J.H. (2011). The state of preschool 2011: State preschool yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research.