January 2020

PreK-3 Alignment: Challenges and Opportunities in California

What types of PreK-3rd grade alignment efforts are school districts making? What challenges are they encountering? In what ways does state policy facilitate or hinder alignment efforts? A new study by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) examined these questions. The authors interviewed representatives from 25 districts that have preschools on one or more of their elementary campuses. They found many of the “common suspects” that plague P-3 alignment across the country:

  • disparate beliefs among district leaders about the role and purpose of PreK;
  • limited involvement of PreK directors in district administrative structures;
  • limited formal responsibilities for PreK for elementary principals; and
  • different licensing requirements, regulations, and funding streams.

The authors make policy recommendations for both the state of California and for school districts.  These recommendations include incentivizing districts to engage in alignment work, adding early childhood education training to administrator credentials, streamlining PreK state licensing requirements, offering PreK directors significant roles in district administrative structures, aligning curriculum and assessment across PreK and early elementary grades, and more.

Author(s): Julia E. Koppich, Deborah Stipek Organization: Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
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