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Public preschool programs in Maine: Program design, capacity and expansion challenges [Executive summary]

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The Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs requested the Maine Education Policy Institute (MEPRI) provide an update on the status of public preschool program expansion in Maine given the state's goal to move toward universal preschool. Maine is a leading state in establishing public preschools. Public preschool programs were first introduced into Maine schools in 1983. In 2006, Maine was one of only six states to include public preschool in the public education funding formula. Maine's statute Chapter 124 went into effect in 2017, specifying requirements for state approval of public preschools as well as reporting on public preschools to the Maine Department of Education (MDOE). MEPRI last reviewed public preschools in Maine in 2015 and 2016. Two studies described the characteristics of public preschool programs in Maine and also explored the facilities and financial needs to expand public preschool, as well as classrooms and teachers (Mason & Porter, 2015; Logue, Tu, Fisher, & Mason, 2015) while a third study investigated parents' perceptions about and use of public and private preschool programs (Fairman, Logue & LaBrie, 2016). This study provides an update on the characteristics of public preschool programs in Maine as well as the progress and challenges in expansion of programs. (author abstract)
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Executive Summary

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