Going to Scale with High-Quality Early Education

Choices and Consequences in Universal Pre-Kindergarten Efforts

by Rachel Christina, J. Goodman

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Abstract

The movement toward universal pre-kindergarten (pre-K) presents policymakers and implementers with many new challenges. In their attempts to go to scale with high-quality early education programs, these leaders and decisionmakers find themselves with little guidance on how to proceed. In an initial effort to respond to the situation, this report looks at the challenges confronting states that are seeking to create statewide public systems of high-quality pre-K services, as well as some of the progress they have made in doing so. Drawing on a review of the literature and interviews with pre-K personnel in a representative sample of eight U.S. states, the report examines the policy choices and debates involved in implementing pre-K in an environment of fiscal uncertainty, focusing on the key issues of funding, auspice, access, accountability, and staffing. In addition, it looks at the unintended effects of particular universal pre-K policy choices on other child populations, families, and communities.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Research Methods and Sample Description

  • Chapter Three

    Setting the Stage: Impetus and Context for Universal Pre-Kindergarten

  • Chapter Four

    The Heart of the Matter: Impact of Multiple Funding Sources

  • Chapter Five

    Whose Baby is This? Auspice and Aegis

  • Chapter Six

    Approaching “Universalism” and Ensuring Access

  • Chapter Seven

    Ensuring High-Quality Offerings Through Accountability

  • Chapter Eight

    The Human Factor: Developing and Maintaining Quality Staff

  • Chapter Nine

    Conclusion

  • Appendix

    Program Cuts by State

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was conducted within RAND Education, a division of the RAND Corporation. This research was funded by The Heinz Endowments and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, members of the Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative.

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