Why UPK?

Why develop Universal Pre-K and not target programs (and spending) towards children who need it most?

When resources are limited and many children need pre-k services, it is tempting to consider providing services only for the children who are defined to be most at-risk of facing subsequent school and life challenges - often defined by targeting children from families earning below a particular income level. But there are good reasons to make preschool programs universal - available to all children of eligible age living in the city. Here are some:

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How are Cities Paying for UPK?

Can you suggest some funding strategies for our expanded pre-K? What are other cities doing?

Currently, there is strong political and public support for early childhood education—across the country and in cities. A 2013 article from EdCentral describes the context at that time: “There is a clear focus in each city on leveraging public and private resources to finance publicly funded pre-K. Denver and San Antonio utilize a voter-approved dedicated funding stream through a new tax, which not only protects the funding from the city or state budget process, but also makes clear that local residents support prioritizing early education spending. These local efforts are also taking place in states that already provide state-funded pre-K, as in Oklahoma. In these instances, the local funding streams are designed to make up for shortfalls in state funding rather than to build a new program from scratch.”

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