The Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Large Public Early Care and Education Programs. Do all children benefit from high-quality early care and education? Do some children benefit more?

03/01/2014

Research on universal ECE programs in Tulsa, Boston, and Tennessee suggests that attending high-quality ECE benefits all children, including children of all racial, ethnic, and income groups. However, pre-K attendance is especially beneficial to the most disadvantaged children and children from certain ethnic-minority groups.[33] For example, in Tulsa, compared to their control group peers, children from poor families were 11 months ahead, children from near-poor families were 10 months ahead, and children from middle-class families were 7 months ahead upon entering kindergarten after attending pre-K.[34] Likewise, in Boston, both children from low-income (defined as eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch) and middle-class families experienced gains in language, literacy, and mathematics outcomes, but low-income children exhibited greater gains. Further, gains in inhibitory control and attention shifting were accrued almost entirely by low-income children.[35] In both Boston and Oklahoma, Latino/Hispanic children exhibited larger gains in letter-word identification from pre-K attendance than their Asian, Black, or White peers. Similarly, in Tennessee, English Language Learners (most of whom were Hispanic) exhibited larger cognitive gains than their native English-speaking peers.[36]

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