In recent decades, state funding for preschool programs has more than tripled as more states are trying to create universal access to Pre-K. Efforts to expand Pre-K access typically include the use and coordination of multiple preschool settings, notably those found in public schools and private community-based organizations, which often have distinct goals, resources, requirements, funding sources, and reporting systems. In this challenging context, the present study examined the empirical example of an ambitious policy initiative to provide high-quality universal Pre-K (UPK) in New York City. Inheriting a mixed-delivery system for UPK provision, the city employed substantial resources to increase and align quality across programs in different settings and with varied auspices. Comparing program and classroom data, the analysis identified significant variation by program setting and auspice that appears to have roots in systemic obstacles that are far from unique to New York City. The findings could inform policymakers nationwide who are striving to build effective systems for the provision of equitable, high-quality early childhood education. (author abstract)
Building a unified system for universal Pre-K: The case of New York City
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