Giving Compass’ Take:
• Brookings Institute examines different approaches to early childhood education and explores how high-quality programs can lead to more equity.
• This piece focuses on Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, showing how they can encourage programs to improve and provide parents with highly-valued information. What can we do to support them?
Early childhood education in the United States is tangle of options — varying in quality, price, structure, and a range of other dimensions. In part as a result, children start kindergarten having had very different experiences in care and very different opportunities to develop the skills and dispositions that will serve them well during school. Systematic differences across groups by income, race, ethnicity, home language, and geographic location are particularly troubling because inequalities that appear early are often sustained through school and affect prospects throughout life.
Convincing research has demonstrated that high-quality early childhood programs can reduce these differences across groups. A few small programs have demonstrated strong positive effects throughout the life cycle, but even some large-scale programs, such as those in Boston and Tulsa have shown effects on math and reading learning. These positive results combined with evident need have led to substantial public investment in early childhood education. State spending on preschool more than doubled between 2002 and 2016, from $3.3 to $7.4 billion (constant 2017 dollars).
However, a range of research also shows that many early childhood programs do not have positive long-term effects. For example, as discussed in an early Evidence Speaks brief, the Tennessee Voluntary Prekindergarten Program showed some positive effects for children as they finished their pre‐k school year; but, these positive were largely gone by the end of kindergarten. Program quality likely affects whether programs benefit children and recent investments have focused heavily on quality improvement.
Read the full article about a different approach to early education by Susanna Loeb at Brookings.
Early Childhood is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
Are you ready to give?
If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Early Childhood, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Early Childhood.