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Still good news for Oklahoma in report about prekindergarten programs

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 27, 2012
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Oklahoma is accustomed to being the national leader in access to prekindergarten programs. The 2011 State of Preschool report reveals that we've lost the top spot. The report raises concerns about declining per-pupil funding. But don't panic yet. We've only fallen to No. 2.

The report released recently by the National Institute of Early Education Research, based at Rutgers University in New Jersey, showed that Florida has usurped the No. 1 position with 76 percent of 4-year-olds enrolled in a program, slightly besting Oklahoma's historic high of 74 percent. But quantity doesn't always equate to quality: Oklahoma meets nine of 10 quality standards benchmarks; Florida meets only three.

Oklahoma's per-child state spending was down in 2011 from a decade-high figure in 2010, resulting in a rank of 27th. When counting all reported spending, however, the amount per child more than doubles, elevating Oklahoma to ninth place. Additionally, the decline in state spending doesn't represent a targeted assault on pre-K, which has some measure of budget protection. As part of the school funding formula, lower pre-K funding is based on lower overall education funding that also affects K-12.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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