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Do preschool entitlements distribute quality fairly? Racial inequity in New York City


Can robust preschool initiatives – such as New York City’s universal entitlement –narrow disparities in children’s learning? Or, might the quality of pre-K sites become regressively distributed, based on racial or economic features of neighborhoods? We map levels of quality observed across 1,791 pre-k sites, 2015 to 2019, finding that those situated in economically better-off census tracts host higher quality programs and developmental practices. Quality falls lower in pre-K sites situated in neighborhoods with larger shares of Black residents and sites enrolling higher percentages of Black children, relative to White or Asian American locales. Preschools run by community organizations display higher quality overall, compared with city schools, while the latter host stronger instructional activities. We discuss ways of mitigating against regressive features that may arise with pre-K entitlements, along with widening the field’s conceptions of quality. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
State(s)/Territories/Tribal Nation(s):
New York

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