Public Preschool Policy in the United States: Focusing on State Pre-K Programs

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study is to examine the current status of public preschool policy in the United States through a review of literature on state pre-K programs. The focus was on the background of the expansion of the state pre-K programs across the nation, the current implementation status, and related policy issues. The results indicate that (1) growing recognition of the importance of early years, the inclusion of the early childhood goals in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and interstate pressures such as regional neighbor adoption of pre-K policies led the states to initiate their own pre-K programs; (2) currently, 44 states (out of 50 states and the District of Columbia) provide 62 state-funded pre-K programs, mostly using a mixed delivery system through public schools and community-based organizations, with a trend toward considering the expansion of services from targeted programs for children from low-income families to universal programs for all children within the state; and (3) policy-related discussions of public pre-K programs were centered on the issues of eligibility criteria (universal vs. targeted), teacher qualifications, and the modes of delivery. Based on these findings, implications for public early childhood education policy and research in Korea are presented.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • August 31, 2020
  • Has Subject Area

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 59
  • End Page

  • 88
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 3