9) In 2011-12, NIEER estimates that enrollment rates of 4-year-olds in state-funded preschool in Georgia and Oklahoma were 59 percent and 74 percent, respectively, with both programs serving that age group exclusively.
While these programs rank among the highest in the nation in access and quality according to NIEER, they differ from one another in several respects.
However, Head Start ranks lower on the NIEER scale than many state-funded preschool programs, averaging a score just below 5 (Espinosa 2002).
We choose not to include West Virginia, since its program has only recently become high-quality on the NIEER scale.
We do not use the NIEER estimates of enrollment rates in the analysis to follow, because the earliest available data are from the 2001-02 school year.
In the study, NIEER conducted a benefit-cost analysis of the Abecedarian Early Childhood Intervention project in North Carolina--which they note is one of the nation's most respected early education programs--by comparing data that had followed children who had participated in high-quality preschool with that of a control group who did not have the benefit of early intervention.
The NIEER researchers found that the children in high-quality preschool programs are projected to have increased incomes, and so are the mothers of these children as well as their own children.
NIEER began tracking state-funded preschool programs in the 2001-2002 school year.
After adjusting for inflation, funding per child fell to the lowest level since NIEER began collecting such data.
The new report from NIEER states: 'Overall, we find that quality standards varied tremendously from state to state.
NHSA also agrees with the findings of the NIEER report that teacher salaries in Head Start classrooms are too low and that more funds are needed to get more degreed teachers into the Head Start program.