Budget woes lead states to cut preschool programs

The AP reports (via USA Today):

States are slashing nearly $350 million from their pre-K programs by next year and more cuts are likely on the horizon once federal stimulus money  dries up, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. The reductions mean fewer slots for children, teacher layoffs and even fewer services for needy families who can’t afford high-quality private preschool programs.

One state —Arizona— has proposed eliminating its 5,500-child program entirely. Illinois cut $32 million from last fiscal year’s pre-k budget and plans to slash another $48 million this year…

Wealthier parents can afford to send their kids to private preschools, but children from poorer families will likely languish in lower-quality childcare that doesn’t prepare them for kindergarten, experts said.

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