Report: WA dollars not going far enough for pre-K

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SEATTLE (AP) -- A new national report released Tuesday says Washington preschool programs that receive government dollars are among the best in the country. But the researchers also believe too few kids benefit from the $54 million Washington spends on preschool each school year.

The National Institute for Early Education Research says Washington is one of the most generous states as far as per-child spending on early learning, but near the bottom in terms of access to preschool.

About 8,000 kids participate in state funded preschool. Another 8,000 get special education before kindergarten and more than 11,000 are enrolled in the federally funded Head Start program. All three programs educate about 20 percent of the state's 3- and 4-year-olds.

Those numbers have continued to increase, despite the economic downturn.