Pre-K Access and Success in Elementary School

While the effects of high quality pre-kindergarten are well documented, access remains a challenge. In addition, there are questions about how the geographic location of pre-K classrooms influences children’s enrollment and outcomes.   In 2013-14 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) implemented policy changes to improve access for children and families they have historically underserved. By funding full-day school-based pre-k classrooms in neighborhoods where students of color, students who speak languages other than English, and families with lower incomes live, children and families had access to more programs and programs closer to their homes.   New research from Start Early, NORC at the University of Chicago, and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Readiness shows that these CPS policies may help close achievement gaps. Findings indicated that this district strategy related to improved children’s readiness skills when they began kindergarten, and improved achievement at the end of 2nd grade. In addition, the relationship between the policy changes and 2nd grade outcomes were largest for Black students and students from low-income families.
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