The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and intensified issues of access to high-quality early childhood education, leading to sharp declines in enrollment and state funding during the 2020-2021 school year, according to the 2021 State of Preschool Yearbook report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. According to the report, 298,000 fewer children were enrolled in state-funded preschools nationwide than a year earlier because of difficulties created by the pandemic such as health risks, closed classrooms and remote preschool. States served less than 30 percent of 4-year-olds and less than 5 percent of 3-year-olds in 2020-2021. To read the full story.