Where does Washington rank on pre-kindergarten?

The National Institute for Early Education Research released their annual “State of Preschool” Yearbook today, providing a truly comprehensive look at the size, spending, and quality of state pre-k programs across the country.

(This on the heels of National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s (NMAP) new report on math instruction, which lists dozens of recommendations adding up to one clear conclusion: We need to focus more on building core math skills in the early grades PK-3.)

State programs are changing dramatically, and for this first time, this year’s report includes data for the 2006-07 school year, compared to baseline research in 2001-02. How does Washington stack up?

Washington’s profile (full report here) shows we’re 29th in enrolling 4-year-olds (solidly in the middle of the pack) and 16th in enrolling 3-year-olds. The state is 6th overall in state spending per child, and 14th overall in total spending (local, federal and state).

Interesting to note that state spending per child (in 2007 dollars) has been in steady and slow decline since 2003. The state’s Basic Education Finance Task Force has been meeting since last fall to address funding for Washington’s schools, but no word yet about how pre-kindergarten fits into those discussions, if at all.

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