Black and Latinx children have little access to high-quality state-funded preschool, according to The Education Trust. It found Latinx children have particularly low access to high-quality state preschool programs. They report that Latinx children are underrepresented in state-funded preschool programs in 11 of 26 states and Black children are underrepresented in three of those states.
Not to be overlooked—as the Education Trust points out–is that many states can’t breakout enrollment by ethnicity, which precludes them from evaluating problems in ensuring access.
Some reported differences hinge on whether states provide significant services for any children at age 3. Others may relate to Head Start participation, which varies dramatically from state to state
. Head Start enrollment of Black and Latinx children is more than proportional to their representation in the overall population. Head Start enrolls about half the low-income population in Mississippi, nearly a third in Washington DC, and nearly a quarter in Oklahoma.
With Head Start enrolling so many Black and Latinx children, accurate evaluation of the enrollment of Black and Latinx children in state pre-K requires taking into account Head Start enrollment, which this report does not do. We can’t make good policy without that information. Head Start by-passes state government which complicates efforts to produce unduplicated counts across the two programs, but the problem is not insurmountable. The bigger and more important issue is how difficult it is to develop integrated services with Head Start and state pre-K that don’t sort children into different programs by income.