In 2006, the pre-kindergarten movement reached a significant goal: Not one state legislature voted to decrease funding for state pre-k programs. Overall, lawmakers in 31 states and the District of Columbia appropriated more than 450 million new dollars for early education, an increase of nearly 12 percent over 2005. In just the past two years, states have added over $1 billion to pre-k budgets nationwide. These increases have enjoyed robust bipartisan support and, this year, won passage in 15 Democrat-led and 10 Republican-led legislatures as well as six states where legislative control is split. Without a doubt, pre-k’s positive impact on budgets, its value as a key school-reform strategy, and most importantly its potential to transform children’s futures have produced a powerful national momentum that is changing the face of public education.
Policy Briefs, National Context