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.
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.