Policy Brief/Analysis

Who Goes to Preschool and Why Does it Matter?

By W. Steven Barnett and Donald J. Yarosz
NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 15, November 2007)


Preschool participation in the U.S. has been increasing steadily over the last four decades. By 2005, more than two-thirds of the nation’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in a preschool program — but who are these children? Where are they? This policy brief identifies factors that influence preschool enrollment, such as income, geography and ethnicity, and offers policy recommendations to address inequities in access.

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The Authors

W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.