AERA Open recently published a study, led by researchers from MDRC, the University of Michigan, and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) Department of Early Childhood, that examined enrollment in the well-known and highly regarded BPS pre-K program across a six-year period.

Using data from 2012-2018, the research team found that children from families with lower incomes were equally likely to enroll in BPS prekindergarten as children from families with higher incomes. And Dual Language Learners were actually slightly more likely to enroll than their monolingual English-speaking peers. However, Black, Hispanic, and Asian children were about 10 percentage points less likely to enroll than White students, with disparities increasing slightly over the six-year period.

The team saw starker differences when they examined enrollment in prekindergarten in the highest-quality schools. Although there were no differences in enrollment between Asian and White students, Black and Hispanic students were 17 and 15 percentage points less likely than White students to enroll in prekindergarten in the highest-quality schools. Perhaps more concerning, these differences grew over time; Black and Hispanic students’ rate of enrollment in the highest-quality schools was stable across time while White students increased each year.

Read the full article about disparities in access to pre-K at MDRC.