日期:2011-05-13 10:22


Preschool funding

Toddle to the top

Cash-strapped states cut funding for nurseries

May 5th 2011 | NEW YORK | from the print edition

They can’t take that away from me

LILY, who is three-and-a-half, loves her nursery school in Queens. Her mother calls her “the sponge” because every day she comes home with new nuggets of knowledge. But not every child is as lucky as Lily. A new report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) shows that states’ preschool funding is declining, which means fewer children will have access to early education, which most agree is essential especially for children living in low-income households. The study looked at the 40 states which fund programmes for three- or four-year-olds. “State cuts to preschool funding transformed the recession into a depression for many young children,” says Steven Barnett, author of the NIEER report.

莉莉,一个三岁半的小女孩,爱她的位于纽约皇后区的托儿所。她妈妈 叫她“海绵宝宝”,因为每天她都带着一些新的知识回家。但并不是每个小孩都像莉莉那么幸运。一份美国国家早期教育研究所(NIEER)的新报告显示,各州的学前教育经费正在减少,这意味着更多的孩子将失去接受学前教育的机会。大多数人都同意说这极为重要,尤其是对生活在低收入家庭中的儿童。该研究对40个设立了对三到四岁儿童资金项目的州进行了调查。“州政府削减学前教育经费,对许多儿童来说,就相当于把经济衰退变成 济大萧条,”史蒂芬•巴纳特说道。他是NIEER的这份新报告的作者。

State preschool spending per child decreased by $114 to $4,028 last year. This is almost $700 less than in 2001-2002. Were it not for the additional funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it would be much less. Worryingly, the funding situation may get worse. The stimulus money helped keep many states afloat, a cushion that no longer exists. Only three states (Connecticut, Maine and Vermont) increased spending per child by more than 10%. Nine (Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Carolina) cut spending by at least 10%. Ohio, once a leader in early education, now has one of the lowest percentages of youngsters enrolled. It cut funding more than any other state.

去年,纽约州在每个儿童身上的开支减少了114美元,下降到4028美元,几乎比2001到2002年少 700美元。要不是因为美国“经济复苏和再投资”法令提供的额外资金,学前教育的经费会更少。尤其让人忧虑的是,这种资金状况有可能会变得更糟糕。这笔刺激资金帮助了许多州的财政得以维持,这种补贴再也不会有了。只有三个州—康涅狄格州、缅因州和佛蒙特州,增加了对儿童的支出。他们对每个儿童的支出超过了10%。而九个州—亚拉巴马州、亚利桑那州、堪萨斯州、肯塔基州、路易斯安那州、马萨诸塞州、内布拉斯加州、俄亥俄州和南卡罗来纳州,减少了至少10%的开支。俄亥俄州,曾经在学前教育上处于领先地位,现在却是青少年入学率最低的州之一。该州减少的资金比任何一个州都要多。

Arne Duncan, the education secretary, understands that states are watching every penny. Tightening budgets is the new normal, he admits, “but there are smart ways to cut and they are dumb ways to cut.” Cutting early education, he reckons, is one of the dumb ones. Mr Duncan is, in fact, making early education one of his priorities, by including it in the next round of funding for Race to the Top, the big federal programme for schools.


Ten states do not provide any funding at all for preschoolers, and some appear to fund it only haphazardly. In Florida preschool programmes are available to all 4-year olds. The problem there is not quantity, but quality. Some programmes—and not just in Florida—are nothing more than glorified baby-sitting. The report encourages states to set and stick to standards so that children are prepared for kindergarten at five. But more financial woe could be on the way. Congress is considering a Republican proposal to cut Head Start, a federal preschool funding programme for poor families. Chester Finn of the Thomas Fordham Institute, an education think-tank, is no fan of universal preschool. He thinks it makes more sense to focus the limited resources available on intensive programmes for the neediest children.

有十个州根本就没有给学龄前儿童提供任何资金;而有些州只是随意地拨些款而已。佛罗里达州的学前教育计划适用于所有的四岁儿童。但存在着一个不是数量上而是质量上的问题。不仅仅是佛罗里达州,其他一些州的计划也只不过是看似体面的照看婴儿的计划而已。NIEER的报告鼓励各州树立并遵循一些标准,所以让孩子在五岁要上幼儿园时是准备好了的。但也将会面临更多的财政困难。国会正在考虑共和党提出的方议案,这个议案主张减少“头脑启动”项目。“头脑启动”是为贫困家庭设立的联邦幼儿园资金项目。切斯特•芬恩所在的托马斯•福德姆研究所,是一个教育智囊团,它对普及性学前教育不感 兴趣。切斯特•芬恩认为集中有限的资源运用到最需要的孩子们的强化方案上更为合理。

Mr Duncan insists education, especially early education, is vital for America to stay competitive. An OECD report found that although the United States spends more, per child, on education than any other OECD country, it lags behind in funding the early years. Geoffrey Canada, head of the Harlem Children’s Zone, says, “we can’t afford to invest, but we can’t afford not to do it”. Mr Canada’s programme begins not in preschool, but in utero in a programme called “Baby College”.


  • instituten. 学会,学院,协会 vt. 创立,开始,制定
  • stickn. 枝,杆,手杖 vt. 插于,刺入,竖起 vi. 钉
  • availableadj. 可用的,可得到的,有用的,有效的
  • limitedadj. 有限的,被限制的 动词limit的过去式和过去
  • recoveryn. 恢复,复原,痊愈
  • competitiveadj. 竞争的,比赛的
  • universaladj. 普遍的,通用的,宇宙的,全体的,全世界的 n.
  • depressionn. 沮丧,萧条
  • qualityn. 品质,特质,才能 adj. 高品质的
  • decliningadj. 下降的,衰落的 动词decline的现在分词