© 2023 KGOU
Colorful collared lizard a.k.a mountain boomer basking on a sandstone boulder
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As Pre-K enrollment suffered across the country, Oklahoma kept access strong

Aaron Burden

Parents across the country werehesitant to send their 4-year-old children to school during the pandemic.

That’s borne out in enrollmentnumbers.

But in Oklahoma, there was some good news during the 2020-21 school year: Therecord losses in pre-kindergarten enrollment weren’t as bad as the rest of the country’s.

Roughly three-fourths of Oklahoma 4-year-olds attended pre-K in the 2020-21 school year.

That’s good enough for second in the country per the National Institute for Early Education Research’sstate of pre-school rankings.

It’s an encouraging statistic, as the state made boosting early childhood enrollment a priority amid coronavirus-caused uncertainty.

But Oklahoma still has a long way to go and will have to make efforts to get more young children enrolled in school. That two-thirds enrollment rate - which outpaced much of the country - was also a 15-year low in the state.

Some other notes from the report that looked at early childhood education during the pandemic-ravaged school year.

  • 74% of Oklahoma 4-year-olds were enrolled in either public pre-kindergarten or federal Head Start programs.
  • Oklahoma preschools enrolled 38,450 preschoolers, a decrease of 4,233 from the prior year.
  • Oklahoma ranked No. 2 nationally for access for 4-year-olds for pre-kindergarten.
  • Oklahoma ranked No. 25 for state spending and No. 7 for overall spending (which includes federal and local monies).
  • State Spending Per Child Equaled $4,643 in 2020-2021, down $53 from 2019-2020, adjusted for inflation.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.