State Preschool in a Mixed Delivery System: Lessons From Five States

Karin Garver, G. G. Weisenfeld, Lori Connors-Tadros, Katherine Hodges, Hanna Melnick, and Sara Plasencia

Amid growing demand and increasing need, states across the country are looking to expand public preschool. One of the biggest challenges states face expanding their preschool systems is coordinating preschool providers that operate in very different settings, including local education agencies, Head Start agencies, child care centers, private schools, faith-based centers, charter schools, and family child care homes. While there are many benefits to these mixed delivery systems, it can be a challenge for administrators and policymakers to provide appropriate supports, effectively braid and distribute funding, and maintain quality across such a wide variety of settings.

In a new report written by NIEER with support from LPI, researchers take an in-depth look at how policymakers in Alabama, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia have worked to expand public preschool while addressing these challenges. All five states have taken different approaches, yet each has been able to build high-quality systems that serve at least a third of the 4-year-olds in their state. While there may be more than one path, based on the analysis, the authors identify actions states should consider taking to foster a strong mixed delivery system with consistent quality.

Click here to read the full report.
Click here to read the accompanying brief.