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Competition or cooperation? The effect of school-based prekindergarten roll-out during COVID-19 on CCDF-funded and Head Start programs in Chicago


In the proposed study, we explore this question within the context of Chicago’s universal prekindergarten (UPK) which was rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chicago’s UPK combines school-based prekindergarten programs that offer free, full-day preschool for all 4- year-olds, and CCDF-funded and Head Start programs that serve eligible low-income children in community-based organizations. We seek to examine (a) how the roll-out of school-based pre-K programs has changed the enrollment and availability of CCDF-funded and Head Start programs within Chicago communities, (b) how changes in the overall CCEE landscape affect the average quality in communities, as well as the quality of CCDF-funded and Head Start programs, and (c) whether these changes differentially affect communities with high proportions of low-income residents. To address our research aims, we will adopt a quasi-experimental approach (i.e., difference-in-differences), using large-scale administrative data from Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago Department of Family Support Services, and American Community Survey from 2017 to 2023. Lessons learned from the study will not only inform the City of Chicago’s UPK programming but also provide insights for locales nationwide that are interested in improving access and quality for their youngest learners. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
Principal Investigator(s):
United States
State(s)/Territories/Tribal Nation(s):

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