Just Released: Pre-K Privatization Brief
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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.
If you want to read more about early education in North Carolina, check out these publications and resources: