“Early education is one of the few school reforms — if not the only one — with extensive research showing its value in academic, social and other ways,” Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss says.
And yet, as we reported last month, Ohio continues to fall short on providing state-funded, high-quality preschool.
The picture now may be grim: The drop in public preschool enrollment over the past decade in Ohio is the largest in nation. And Ohio’s policies around ensuring that preschool is more than just babysitting rank dead last nationally, according to a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research.
But Ohio hasn’t always faired quite so poorly, NIEER Director Steven Barnett told us last month:
“Ohio is one of those states that has gone back and forth. It’s looked very good at some times and more recently has been a disaster,” he says.
Ohio preschool funding has traced a roller-coaster path over the years. How much funding is available affects how many students can enroll. And funding cuts are also “the biggest threat to the quality of preschool programs,” NIEER says.