State funding for pre-K programs fell by more than a half a billion dollars in 2011-2012, according to a new study released Monday.
The National Institute for Early Education Research reports the dip is the most significant financial decline in a decade and the largest one-year drop ever.
“Even though the nation is emerging from the Great Recession, it is clear that the nation’s youngest learners are still bearing the brunt of the budget cuts,” said NIEER director Steve Barnett.
READ: The 2012 preschool report (http://bit.ly/11RCSo6)
Oklahoma's children didn't escape the trend. The State of Preschool 2012 study found that "state budgets cuts across the board affected early childhood programs."
And with more 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in Oklahoma preschools than ever before, state spending was stunted for a second year in a row with an expenditure of $3,652 per child. In 2010, Oklahoma spent $4,759 per preschool student.
MORE: How Oklahoma measured up (http://bit.ly/188FH7v)
The report comes just months after President Obama called universal preschool for all children one of his second-term priorities.
MORE: Facts about Obama's pre-K proposals (http://bit.ly/11xJ3vG)
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Monday the report highlights the need for lawmakers to take action by implementing the president's suggestions for reform.
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