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Access to high quality early care and education: Readiness and opportunity gaps in America

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Nores, Milagros & Barnett, Steven
Publication Date: 
31 May 2014



This policy report from the Center on Enhancing Education Outcomes and the National Institute of Early Education Research argues that "access to quality preschool education is one way in which greater equality of opportunity can be extended to children from minority and low-income families."

The report also argues that, "targeting is not as effective in reaching disadvantaged populations as policymakers naively assume. In addition, disparate and uneven state policies exacerbate inequalities."

This brief is organized into four main sections. The first describes the "readiness gaps" at kindergarten entry as of 2010. The remaining sections examine the extent to which there are "opportunity gaps" in the early care and education services that may be associated with those readiness gaps. We begin with the care arrangements at age 2 and then examine early care and education arrangements for children aged 3 and 4. Finally, we turn to state pre-K policy and its impacts on enrollment, quality standards, and funding for children ages 3 and 4. The information presented is based on analyses of three main sources of data: the State of the Preschool series, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study- Kindergarten Cohort 2010/11 (ECLS-K) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort 2001 (ECLS-B).

Entered Date: 
4 Jun 2014
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