Photo: Flickr / qnr
People in Georgia aren’t blowing as big a chunk of their paycheck on the lottery as we thought. A decline in lottery revenue has pushed the state to make drastic cuts to its early education program, reports Education Week.
This has led to reductions in school days, lower pay and higher teacher turnover, despite the fact the state has poured real money—$1.5 billion in the past five years—into its prekindergarten program.
Of course, the Peach State isn’t the only one whose early education programs are facing cutbacks. A recent national study found 26 of 39 states with public prekindergarten programs mostly serving low-income 4-year-olds cut overall funding for a $60 million decline from 2010.
Combined with the popularity of these programs, the cuts have led to a steep drop in states’ per child spending—more than $700 per child compared to 15 years ago (when adjusted for inflation).
For parents, this is troubling because not everyone wishes to have their child to skip prekindergarten or can afford to leave the kid at home with a sitter during the workweek.
The issue also shows the wealth gap in action: Wealthy parents can afford to take out pre-college student loans to pay for private school tuition, while low-income Americans clearly cannot.
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