EdStat: The U.S. Federal Government Spends Roughly $26 Billion Annually on Programs and Tax Expenditures to Support the Care and Education of Young Children

How much are individual households spending to send a child to a center-based program—in other words, what is the market price of child care? This can be difficult to determine, because the government intervenes in numerous ways. The federal government, for example, spends about $26 billion annually on programs and tax expenditures to support the care and education of young children. Some states and cities have also assumed substantial costs to provide free public preschool programs. Information on market price is useful, however, because it can inform decisions by states or localities on how to set sliding fee schedules or eligibility cutoffs so as to focus state expenditures on the families in greatest financial need, while not at the same time driving away families with higher incomes whose children can provide needed socioeconomic diversity in daycare and preschool centers. To learn more about the market price of daycare and preschool, read Russ Whitehurst’s full article on EdNext.org. To see how charter schools are expanding to better serve preschool students, check out “The Charter Model Goes to Preschool” from our Winter 2017 issue.

—Education Next

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