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NEW STUDY SETS COST OF HIGH QUALITY PRESCHOOL AT $12,276 PER-PUPIL

GIVES LEGISLATURE FIRM BASIS FOR EXPANDING PRESCHOOL PROGRAM

Newark, NJ -- December 10, 2007

Education Law Center today announced the release of a new study of the cost of providing high quality preschool in New Jersey. The study, The Cost of High-Quality Preschool in New Jersey (2007) by Dr. Clive Belfield and Heather Schwartz, documents the cost of delivering preschool under the rigorous quality standards already in place for children in the state’s urban districts in the nationally acclaimed Abbott preschool program.

 

The Belfield and Schwartz study examines actual Abbott preschool budgets and classroom quality data to estimate the cost of providing high-quality preschool. The authors conclude that $12,276 per-pupil is needed to do so.

The cost study is especially timely as Governor Jon Corzine is on the verge of proposing his new school funding formula. The Governor has already announced that his proposal will maintain and expand preschool under the Abbott quality standards, a plan that will require accurate and thorough cost determinations. Using the $12,276 per-pupil cost found by Belfield and Schwartz, ELC estimates the costs of expanding preschool as follows:

  • $95 million additional funding to move from 75 to 90 percent enrollment of the eligible children in Abbott districts – the enrollment benchmark set by the NJ Education Department
  • $224 million to serve 90 percent of eligible three- and four-year-olds in the other low-income districts, which the Governor has targeted for expansion over the next six years.

 

Preschool advocates also released a policy brief accompanying the study, Strengthening and Expanding High-Quality Preschool in New Jersey.Education Law Center today announced the release of a new study of the cost of providing high quality preschool in New Jersey.  Organizations and individuals endorsing the policy brief include:

Education Law Center
Association for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ)
Child Care Resources of Monmouth County
Hispanic Directors Association of New Jersey
Ironbound Community Corporation
National Association for the Education of Young Children – New Jersey (NAECY—NJ)
Paterson Education Fund
Profession Impact NJ
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN)
The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey (Ocean County Resource and Referral Agency)
Youth Consultation Services
Marcia Schoolmaster Bennett, Early Childhood Consultant
Thomas Dunn, Jr., Director of Urban Affairs, New Jersey Association of School Administrators
Dr. Susan Golbeck, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, Rutgers University
Ave Latte, Instructor, Education Dept., Brookdale Community College
Kathleen D. Priestley, Supervisor of Early Childhood Education, Orange Public Schools
Dr. Janis Strasser, Early Childhood Professor, William Paterson University

In the brief, advocates call on legislators to further strengthen the preschool program in urban districts; to expand the program to other poor districts; and, over time, to ensure access to all youngsters in the Garden State.

The NJ Supreme Court in the landmark Abbott v. Burke (1998) case directed the State to provide high quality preschool programs in the poorest urban districts. The Abbott preschool program has become a national model of high quality and collaboration between public schools, community providers and Head Start. All three- and four-year olds in the urban districts are eligible to enroll. Consistently rated one of the top preschool programs in the country, the Abbott program is yielding positive results: a recent study shows that Abbott preschool children experience significant, positive gains in literacy and early math skills.

Press Contacts:
Ellen Boylan, Senior Attorney,
Education Law Center
973.624.1815, x18,
eboylan@edlawcenter.org
Dr. Clive Belfield, Assistant Professor of Economics,
Queens College, City University of New York
CliveBelfield@qc.cuny.edu
Daniel Santo Pietro, Director,
Hispanic Directors Association of New Jersey
732. 828.7606,
dspietro@hdanj.org
Thomas Dunn, Jr., Director of Urban Affairs,
New Jersey Association of School Administrators
609. 599.2900, ext. 119,
tdunn@njasa.net
Cecilia Zalkind, Executive Director,
Association for Children of New Jersey
973.643.3876,
czalkind@acnj.org
Lorraine Cooke, Ed. D.,
National Association for the Education of Young Children – New Jersey
908.352.7508,
LCooke9867@aol.com
Gwen Forte, Director,
Children’s Home Society of New Jersey
732.557.9633,
gforte@oel.state.nj.us
Theresa Hayes, 
Child Care Resources of Monmouth County
732.918.9901, x114,
thayes@ccrnj.org
Barbara Markell,
Youth Consultation Services, Vice President of Educational Services
bmarkell@YCS.org