Christina Yeager Pelatti, Jaclyn M. Dynia, Jessica A. R. Logan, Laura M. Justice, Joan Kaderavek
Research shows that high-quality early education is essential for all children. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees children with disabilities the right to be included in school alongside typically developing peers, known as inclusion. Abut 10 percent of all preschoolers are diagnosed with a disability and nearly half of preschool-aged children with disabilities attend inclusive early education programs--although potential barriers exist that could limite access to high-quality preschools.
This study investigates the extent to which differences exist between (a) publicly funded ECE classrooms that primarily serve typically developing children from low-income households, and (b) inclusive classrooms that include both children with disabilities. It finds that inclusive ECE classrooms had lower quality instructional support than publicly funded ECE environments for children generally.
The view of preschool as welfare influences the way preschool education is financed and helps explain why the US doesn’t offer every child a quality preschool education. Preschool funding is much more heavily dependent on a patchwork of federal programs -- a tradition more reflective of social insurance programs than public education, which is primarily a state and local responsibility. As a result in most states preschool programs including Head Start and subsidized child care target only the most vulnerable young children -- a noble goal for sure, but even these programs fail to reach most of the intended beneficiaries and funding levels are far from adequate for a quality early education.
If the US public was more convinced of the educational value of pre-K, would we see more state and local financial resources being invested? It seems likely. Most states do provide some funding for preschool and child care, but local funding is much less common. By contrast, 45% of public K-12 education comes from local taxes, the large majority from property tax receipts. State resources account for another 47% of spending. The rest -- just 8% -- is filled by federal funds. If the local share for early childhood programs were equal to that for K-12, funding for state pre-K programs would just about double.
Taking a broader view including Head Start and state funded pre-K, just over half of the dollars come from federal government financing (51%), with states providing 39% and just 9% deriving from local sources. With a few notable exceptions, such as Maine, Oklahoma, and West Virginal, most states have virtually no local tax support for public early education programs.
Judith M. Y. Alexandre, Natalie Makow, Kwanghee Jung, Steve Barnett
In this report to New Jersey Council for Young Children (NJCYC) Department of Education, researchers present the results of two studies of the quality of child care received by infants and toddlers in New Jersey which addressed the following questions: What is the quality of infant and toddler center-based care in New Jersey? What is the quality of this infant/toddler care in each of the twenty one counties? What are some common strengths and weaknesses of infant and toddler center-based care?
Beginning in the 2005-2006 school year, the seventh year of implementation of the high-quality pre-K program in New Jersey's Abbott districts, NIEER began a longitudinal study to measure learning gains from participating in Abbott pre-K. At the time the study began, quality had risen but not yet to its current level, and 40,500 3- and 4-year-old children were served. This fact sheet presents key takeaways from NIEER's longitudinal study of the program quality and child outcomes.
Judith Marie Yves Alexandre, Natalie Makow, Kwanghee Jung, W. Steven Barnett
A survey of the quality of infant and toddler child care in Essex County (including Newark, Orange, Irvington and East Orange) finds that high quality care is scarce, especially for infants. Poor quality care is far too common. Recommendations for improvement are offered based on a study of the determinants of care quality in Essex County.
by W. Steven Barnett, Kwanghee Jung, Min-Jong Youn, and Ellen C. Frede
The multi-year study of New Jersey’s Abbott Preschool Program shows that children in the state’s most disadvantaged communities who participate in the pre-K program make significant gains in literacy, language, math and science through 4th and 5th grade.
In this paper for the National Research Council and U.S. Equity and Excellence Commission, NIEER Director Steve Barnett looks at studies that provide rigorous estimates of the effects of some large scale, state-funded pre-K programs – both targeted and universal. Using available data on preschool access in the United States, Dr. Barnett also provides estimates on pre-K enrollment by family income and the costs of providing educationally effective pre-K programs to all children.
New Mexico’s children who attend the state-funded Pre-K program have been found to have achieved significant positive effects in vocabulary, math, and literacy skills at the beginning of kindergarten, according to the fourth in a series of annual reports by NIEER.
Ron Haskins and Steve Barnett focus on Early Head Start, Head Start, and home visiting programs in this collection of papers they edit. Promising recommendations include closing ineffective Head Start centers or giving other program operators the opportunity to compete for Head Start.