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Report: More Than Half Md. Toddlers Not Enrolled In Publicly Funded Pre-K

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Education disparity. There's a great need for access to high quality preschool in the U.S.

Amy Yensi has more on the new report.

When it comes to publicly funded preschool, in Maryland, 52 percent of four-year-olds are not enrolled.

An early start in the classroom is something the U.S. Department of Education says many children need and are not getting. Emily Samuels of Celebree Learning Centers says that sets them up for failure.

"Ninety percent of brain development happens at birth through 5," said Samuels.

That key developmental phase goes untapped for many children.

A new report shows that 60 percent of four-year-olds in the U.S. are not enrolled in publicly funded preschool programs. There's even less access for children in communities of color and from low income households.

"It would be great to have a formal program that everyone has access to. Not everyone has the funds," said Emily Moore, parent.

Yensi: "How ready is a child that experiences Pre-K versus one that does not?"

Samuels: "Well, if you're going from being at home all day with mom or dad or a private care giver to going to a classroom setting, the biggest hurdle that most children encounter is being able to sit and participate and the social emotional skills."

She says that puts students at a disadvantage when they start in kindergarten, which can follow them to higher grades.

The White House also reports that high quality preschool can also lead to higher earnings for children when they grow up.

The Council of Economic Advisers adds that early childhood education provides a benefit to society of $8.60 for every $1 spent.

Education officials are now highlighting this report as a reason to expand access on a national level.

The report includes data from state preschool programs, Head Start and programs serving children with disabilities.

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