Children who attend high-quality early education programs are better prepared for success in school— academically, socially and emotionally. The NC Pre-K program is designed to provide a high-quality educational experience for 4-year-olds who are primarily from low-income families or face other risk factors. Research has shown that children who participate in this high-quality program experience significant positive outcomes that extend well into their elementary and middle school years.
However, the number of children who are eligible for this program far exceeds the number of children currently served as well as the current capacity to serve additional children. The funding model, rising operating costs, and low state reimbursement rates are all barriers that programs across the state are facing. Consequently, many counties are able to expand the NC Pre-K program even with additional funding, which leaves too many children without a high-quality early learning experience prior to kindergarten.
Key Things to Know:
- 30 counties did not expand NC Pre-K the last time there was an increase in funding.
- 53% of eligible children still lack access to NC Pre-K.
- Reimbursement rates are too low and fail to provide much needed administrative or programmatic support and upfront funding to recruit and hire teachers and outfit new classrooms.