For the last few years, it looked as if children entering the Cincinnati public schools were coming to kindergarten more prepared then ever, in part due to expanded access to pre-school programs and more coordination between what they learned beforehand and the city’s K-12 curriculum.
The recession and budget cuts, however, may be taking a toll, according to a story in The Cincinnati Enquirer. And it’s one that could be played out in school districts across Ohio and throughout the U.S.
In Ohio, lawmakers cut some $11.5 million from early childhood education, and eliminated a preschool program for poor children. In addition, the Cincinnati public schools lost half a million dollars in funding for English language learners.
“In 2007, the state made some tremendous gains in the investment in pre-K education, but in the last year Ohio took a huge hit,” Marci Young, director of Pre-K Now, a Pew Center on the States campaign for quality early childhood education, told The Enquirer. “There was a 33 percent loss in spending on early childhood education. I would say Ohio certainly lost ground.”
How are similar trends playing out across the U.S.? There are many tools and resources available to consult, but it’s possible the true picture won’t be known for years to come, when students show up for kindergarten — and they aren’t ready to learn in the way they should be.