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N.M. Pre-K ranks 27 on funding

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Recession hits programs nationally; more cuts expected

By Special to the Monitor

New Mexico ranked 23rd nationally for percentage of children enrolled in pre-K, an important gain, according to the annual survey of state-funded preschool programs released today.   

It served 17 percent of its 4-year-olds, up from 13 percent in the prior year.

The State of Preschool 2009 showed that New Mexico met 8 of 10 quality standards benchmarks, but ranked only 27th for state funding per child.  The FY ’11 state budget cut the program further.

“Funding cuts hurt children by limiting both quality and enrollment,” said W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University and report author. “Rigorous evaluations of New Mexico’s program finds that it has strong positive effects on children’s school readiness.”

Barnett warned that preschool-age children across the country are feeling the impact of the recession as states cut back on early education programs, according to the report that ranks all states on enrollment in state-funded preschool programs, the amount states spent per child, and how many of NIEER’s 10 quality benchmarks a state met.


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