On May 1, 2024

Vermont among top in nation for preschool enrollment, quality

Courtesy NIEER — The chart shows the percent of Vermont’s population by age enrolled in its preschool programs from 2002 to 2023. Since Act 166 of 2014, which mandated 10 hours of universal pre-K for all 3 to 5-year-olds for 35 weeks a school year, there has been a notable increase.

National report ranks Vermont second in the U.S. for 3-year-old education, sixth for 4-year-olds

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) released its annual State of Preschool report, which tracks preschool enrollment, funding, and quality across states. The 2023 State of Preschool Yearbook found that, in the 2022-2023 school year:

Vermont served 71% of the state’s 3-year-olds and 64% of 4-year-olds in state-funded preschool, for a total combined enrollment of 8,334 (an increase of 793 from the prior year).

State spending totaled $68,702,087, up $9,832,410 (17%), adjusted for inflation, since last year. State spending per child equaled $8,244 in 2022-2023, up $437 from 2021-2022, adjusted for inflation.

Vermont met 7 of 10 research-based quality standards benchmarks for minimum quality recommended by NIEER.

A new statewide committee was created by legislation in 2023 to study the implementation of  Vermont’s universal preschool program and make recommendations for increasing equitable access and quality. The committee is expected to report to the Legislature later this year.

“This report highlights the critical role of early education in Vermont,” said Vermont interim Secretary of Education Zoie Saunders. “Vermont is committed to early education, and we are proud that our universal prekindergarten program is preparing Vermont’s youngest learners for success in school. Our goal is to continue to strengthen our cradle-to-career education system.”

“Vermont is one of only a handful of states 

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