Thousands of Idaho children are woefully behind when they start kindergarten each year, according to a new report, primarily because of the state's lack of funding for pre-K programs. The survey by the National Institute of Early Education Research said Idaho's lack of a state-run program for pre-kindergarten puts Idaho's youth at an educational disadvantage compared to their peers in other states. The report's chapter on Idaho is brief but stark. The words "NO PROGRAM" fill almost the the entire page.
Idaho is one of only 11 states without a state-funded preschool program. Additionally, Idaho children have no requirement to attend a preschool or even kindergarten. The state currently funds half-day kindergarten programs and gives local school districts the option to fund full-day programs. Districts are required to offer preschool programs for children with special needs.