A Back to School Special Report on the Baby Boom Echo: No End in Sight (August 19, 1999)
The Baby Boom Echo:
No End in Sight
Expanding Pre-K Opportunities
While many more young people are starting pre-K programs (Figure 3) we still are not meeting the national need for quality pre-primary education. Many more families want it for their 3- to 5-year old children. New research tells us that an early investment in helping young people prepare for their formal education can pay many educational dividends.
As a result, an increasing number of state governors, as well as the federal government, have been working hard to expand pre-K opportunities. In 1998, about two-thirds of children ages 3 to 5, or 7.8 million children, were enrolled in some form of pre-K program. A total of 4.3 million children in this age group are currently not enrolled in pre-K programs.
I believe that increasing pre-K opportunities for children, with particular attention to ensuring parent involvement and hiring high-quality teachers and child care providers, will be a major area of new educational investment in the coming decade.
While a new emphasis is being placed on expanding high-quality pre-K programs to serve our nation's youngest children, another changing enrollment pattern also deserves attention.
[ No End in Sight ] [ More High School Students than Ever Before ]
Last Updated -- August 19, 1999, (smj)