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Providing preschool education for all 4-year-olds: Lessons from six state journeys

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Ackerman, Debra; Barnett, Steven, Hawkinson; Brown, Kirsty; and McGonigle, Elizabeth
Fact sheet
Publication Date: 
1 Mar 2009

Abstract: State-funded voluntary prekindergarten programs have grown steadily over the past decade and now enroll more than one million children. While the overall trend has been one of increasing participation in publicly funded preschool education, access in most states is limited to select groups of disadvantaged or otherwise-at-risk 4-year-olds. However, Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma offer “preschool for all.” This means all 4-year-olds living in the state are eligible for state pre-K, and most actually attend. Other states, such as Illinois, New York and West Virginia, have committed to extending availability to all 4-year-olds over the next five years. To illuminate the options, opportunities, and challenges in moving toward preschool education for all, this report examines the individual journeys of these six states.