What does this measure?
The number of children, age four or otherwise eligible for kindergarten in the following school year, enrolled in publicly funded prekindergarten programs, expressed as a percentage of all 4-year-olds.
Why is this important?
Early emphasis on reading and social skills prepares children to succeed later in their education.
How is Dutchess County performing?
In 2014, 11% of Dutchess County's 4-year-olds were enrolled in publicly funded prekindergarten programs, up from 7% in 2001 but down by 2 points from 2012. That was far below the state (excluding NYC) rate of 36% and the lowest rate in the region. The state (excluding NYC) rate has remained steady since rising 20 points from 2008 to 2009, while Duchess increased by 9 points during that period.
Notes about the data
New York State did not provide comparable data for 2013. Figures reflect children in free prekindergarten programs provided by school districts or community organizations; they do not include children attending private preschool or federally funded Head Start. In 1997, New York State enacted a law providing public support for prekindergarten, effective 1998.