Publicly Funded Pre-school Still Straggling Behind

It seems publicly funded pre-school programs are still not a hit with Louisiana residents.

A new report by the US Department of Education outlines how only 31 percent of 4 year-olds in the state were enrolled in state taxpayer funded pre-school programs in the 2012-2013 school year.

For federal pre-school programs, like the controversial Head Start Early Childhood Education Program, the numbers were even more dismal. Only 12 percent of 4 year-olds were enrolled in the program in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Altogether, more than half, about 54 percent, of 4 year-olds were not enrolled in any publicly funded pre-school programs.

The use of taxpayer dollars to fund federal and state pre-school programs has been divisive for sometime now.

Conservatives argue that public money should not be used to fund pre-schools, mainly because the pre-school is not a necessary grade level. Meanwhile, liberals argue for universal publicly funded pre-schools.

Though, universal pre-school is not a tough pitch to sell, the report clearly shows that 4 year-olds’ parents are not taking advantage of the publicly funded pre-school programs.

In fact, a study released back in 2013 by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that the $8 billion federally funded Head Start Program did not have any lasting impacts on the children enrolled.

The Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) also found that in areas such as math and social-emotional skills, Head Start children fared worse compared to those who did not attend Head Start.

It is important to note that the report did not take into consideration 4 year-olds who are enrolled at private pre-school programs or church-related pre-school classes.



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