It has become normative for children to attend some type of early education before entering kindergarten; yet, gaps in enrollment suggest that children from low-income families, who might benefit the most from such services, remain the least likely to receive them. The public sector engages in two main policy strategies to address this gap, providing compensatory preschool programs such as Head Start or state prekindergarten (pre-k), and means-tested child care assistance. Federal and state investments in both types of programs have increased dramatically over the past two decades; however, still only a portion of eligible poor children are served. Evidence from the evaluation literature suggests that high quality early education improves low-income children's school readiness and other long-term developmental outcomes. States face considerable challenges in ensuring that children have access to quality early care and education experiences. (author abstract)
Early education: Progress and promise for children and low-income families
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