Access to High-Quality Early Education and Racial Equity

Despite evidence that high-quality ECE can reduce inequality, the nation is hamstrung by limited public funding to increase access to ECE and by the differentially low quality of pre-K provided to Black children. The most recent nationally representative observational assessment of quality is from the 2005-2006 ECLS-B study. It found Black children were more likely to be in low-quality center-based ECE than White children and less likely to be in high-quality ECE. An analysis of observed quality data from 11 states collected between 2001 and 2004 also found Black children attended lower quality programs. More recent studies, though not national, indicate these ECE quality disparities continue.

Racial inequities in education can start as early as preschool

Universal preschool would help close the math and reading gaps between white and Black children who are approaching kindergarten, an analysis from the National Institute for Early Education Research shows. Schools with high quality learning programs have resources to ensure a child is on track in age-appropriate learning activities. These programs have systemically left Black children behind due to high tuition and waiting lists.