Kentucky’s state-funded pre-K program rates are among the highest in the nation according to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).

The State of Preschool 2010 assessed state programs against 10 benchmarks for quality. For the first time, Kentucky met nine of the benchmarks, according to the Kentucky state report. The survey also looked at issues such as access and resources.

Kentucky made gains in the number of preschoolers enrolled and overall quality, according to the annual survey. However, the state lost ground in the area of funding. While additional federal and local funds increased overall spending, the state was forced to cut state funding, as were other states.

Despite decreased state financial support, Kentucky fared well overall in the annual survey – one of 12 programs meeting nine of the 10 quality benchmarks. Only five state programs met all 10 quality standards. The quality standards checklist includes benchmarks on early learning standards, teacher preparation, class size and support services among others. Ten states do not provide state-funded preschool education programs.