In Nebraska, 1,764 children under the age of three are enrolled in Early Head Start programs. Additionally, 11 percent of the state’s three-year olds and 26 percent of the state’s four-year olds are enrolled in state-funded pre-K. However, many advocates of early education propose that more early childhood investment by the state legislature would “ensure that more children begin their public education experience prepared to succeed.” The average annual cost of center-based infant care in the state is $7,797.
- What’s happening in the legislature: Education groups in Nebraska advocated for a series of early childhood education bills in the state and a public hearing before the state Education Committee heard from “speaker after speaker” that even teaching preschoolers basic skills “is the best investment Nebraska can make in its future.” The Nebraska legislature also passed L.B. 507 which created the Step Up to Quality Child Care Act to create standards and high quality early education. The bill will provide incentives and support for professional development and training, and postsecondary education opportunities for early childhood education providers.
- Funding increases and additional support: The Nebraska Legislature this year approved a budget with a $3.5 million increase for early childhood education programs.