BTC Just Released: March 21, 2012

Just Released: Pre-K Privatization Brief

Just Released is a new email update from the Budget and Tax Center that brings you a quick summary of our most recent research on the economy, poverty, the state budget, and taxes. If you haven’t yet passed it on to your colleagues and friends to get the latest from us, send them here to sign up.

New Brief examines impact privatization of Pre-K could have on rural, poor counties
Today the Budget & Tax Center released a brief, Privatizing Pre-K: A move that would disproportionately impact rural, high-poverty counties", that takes a look at what privatizing North Carolina’s Pre-K program, which serves at-risk four year olds, could mean for the program’s access. Privatizing Pre-K was a proposal under consideration by the House Select Committee on Early Childhood Education Improvement and the brief notes that public schools play a vital role in administering and managing Pre-K classrooms, particularly in locations in which there aren’t robust networks of private child care providers. Barring public schools from that role could disproportionately impact rural, high-poverty counties.

Using county-level data on the location of Pre-K program slots, rural and urban designations of counties, and poverty and child poverty rates, other key findings of the brief include:

  • A majority (58) of North Carolina’s counties rely on public schools to host and manage more than half of their Pre-K slots. Data reveals that only 6 of these counties are not rural.
  • Moreover, 17 counties – Alleghany, Bertie, Bladen, Clay, Dare, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Jones, Moore, Perquimans, Polk, Tyrrell, Warren, Washington, and Watauga – rely exclusively (or 100%) on public schools to house their Pre-K program slots. All 17 of these counties are rural and a majority of them of are also high-poverty.

The brief concludes that any efforts to privatize Pre-K could result in decreased access to the program in certain communities around the state, which would impact children’s educational outcomes in the short- and long-terms.

Related Publications

If you want to read more about early education in North Carolina, check out these publications and resources: