This policy brief reviews the work of State legislatures during 2005 and summarizes key policy decisions in four areas: prekindergarten legislation, kindergarten and full-day kindergarten legislation, governance and coordination of early learning services and programs, and program and personnel quality. Funding for State and local early education programs increased in 27 States in 2005. The largest increases in allocations were in Hawaii and in Tennessee. Nine States do not operate State-funded programs (i.e., Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming). Forty-one States and the District of Columbia fund preschools. State examples are presented of financing strategies. In California, a proposed initiative to increase income tax for the State’s highest income bracket would finance universal pre-K. Eight States passed legislation to support targeted or universal full-day kindergarten. Six States recognized the need to coordinate educational services as a means to increase school readiness and program effectiveness and to assure more consistent accountability. Legislation addressing quality issues tended to fall into two broad areas: teacher quality and program quality. Under the heading of program quality, four subtopics are presented: standards, incentives and the creation of quality rating systems, accreditation, and school readiness. A table presents a State-by-State snapshot of key legislative decisions in 2005.
Policy Briefs, National Context, National Studies, Rating Systems, Learning Standards