In a recent article in the New York Times we find that while the economic recession has taken a major toll on many areas on the economy, early childhood education has largely been spared. In fact in North Carolina and other states, investment in such programs actually expanded.
Despite the recession, states continued to expand early childhood programs in the 2008-9 school year, according to an annual survey by the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. Nationwide enrollment in state-financed prekindergarten programs grew by 82,000, to more than 1.2 million children, the institute said. But average state spending per child dropped, to $4,143 from $4,179 the previous year. Oklahoma has the best early childhood program, based on the percentage of children enrolled, program quality and other factors, the institute said. Other states in the institute’s top 10 ranking were Arkansas, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana and Tennessee.