Using nationally representative data to examine children's experiences in the early years of their education, this report asks two key questions. First, to what extent are children accessing high-quality early education by race and socioeconomic status? And second, once children reach elementary school, does exposure to quality classrooms with teaching practices that build on and strengthen that early foundation vary for children from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds? The answers to these questions reveal the gaps in access to quality early childhood programs and highlight the need for improvements in teacher preparation and ongoing training. The data also highlight the lack of common measures of quality across early childhood programs and early elementary experiences and the need for better alignment across the preschool-to-third-grade continuum. For this reason, the report's research is presented in two sections. The first section describes access to quality early education programs; the second examines if current teaching practices provide regular exposure to the skills identified within state standards at each grade level. (author abstract)
Examining quality across the preschool-to-third-grade continuum [Executive summary]
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