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Early Childhood Education

Nearly 75% of 4-year-olds in the United States are enrolled into early childhood education (ECE) programs, and more than half of those slots are publicly funded. Public investment in ECE has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Between 1990 and 2011, the number of 3- to 5-year-olds enrolled in public preschool programs more than doubled, from 1.2 million to 2.9 million children. Growth in state spending for preschool has been particularly pronounced, rising from 2.4 billion to 5.5 billion between 2001 and 2011. Furthermore, while most public programs target low-income children, as of 2013 three states funded voluntary preschool programs available to all 4-year-old children and eight offered programs to more than half of the 4-year-olds in each state.

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