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Group Offers Current and Historical Snapshot of Preschool Enrollment

Opportunity Nation, a group with offices in Boston and Washington that describes itself as working to "expand economic mobility and close the opportunity gap in America," has created a searchable database that allows users to look up education indicators by ZIP code, including information on preschool enrollment. 

The Opportunity Index uses 16 indicators, which in addition to preschool stats include on-time graduation rate, access to healthy food and access to health care. Opportunity Nation then used that information to create an overall score for communities, states, and the nation as a whole. In addition to ZIP code, the database is also searchable by city or county.

Preschool enrollment was chosen as one of the indicators because children receiving a high-quality early childhood education are less likely to repeat a grade, require special education, drop out of school, or commit a crime, according to the group.

The organization also offers a long-view look at preschool enrollment in its Historical Report, which goes back as far as 1970. At that time, 12.2 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in preschool; in 2010, 47.8 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled. 

"Growth is great, but we're not done. We want every child in a high-quality early learning program," said Russell Krumnow, the managing director of Opportunity Nation. "We have a lot more that we can do, and we see people in both parties calling for that."

The organization plans to introduce an updated index in late October.  

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