Thank goodness California has wised up in regard to their preschool program(http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/05/18/preschool.initiative.ap/index.html).
Compared to all other states, it hangs near the middle. The laws use no specifics. It serves less than 15 percent of the entire three-year old population and only 26 percent of the four-year old population. On the other hand, they require a 1:8 ratio of adults to children for all 3-4 year old classrooms (NIEER, 2006).
Fortunately, the state will vote in June of this year whether or not they wish to provide half-day preschools (3 hours/day, 5 days/week) to all children from ages 3-4. Parents can option not to send their children if they wish. The state seeks to pay for this universal access by raising state income taxes for the top 1 percent incomes (i.e. Eastwood and all the other movie stars out there to name a few).
I hope other states continue to at least give this model a try because it will make the state money in the long run. It may take a decade, but $20-60 million usually allocated for high school and middle school remediation could go to other necessities if universal preschooler were put in place. Universal preschool often reduces drop-out rates and retention in the long run (Morrison, 2006).
I hope this works out...and I hope that South Carolina (my state) follows suit on this model or a similar one if successfu.
Morrison, G. S. (2006). Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education. Prentice Hall: New York.
NIEER (2006). The state of preschool 2005. NIEER: New Jersey.