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An equal start?Providing quality early education and care for disadvantaged children$
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Ludovica Gambaro, Kitty Stewart, and Jane Waldfogel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447310518

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447310518.001.0001

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Delivering high-quality early childhood education and care to low-income children

Delivering high-quality early childhood education and care to low-income children

How well is the US doing?

(p.193) Nine Delivering high-quality early childhood education and care to low-income children
An equal start?

Katherine Magnuson

Jane Waldfogel

Policy Press

This chapter examines the extent to which disadvantaged children are able to access high quality early childhood education and care in the US. It describes the split in responsibilities between federal and state (and local) governments, and underlines the key role played by the private sector, including for-profit providers. Significant disparities in enrolment are evident, with low income children and children of immigrants less likely than their peers to be enrolled, and less likely to be in formal school or centre based care. Low income children also attend care of lower average quality than that attended by higher income children. The authors discuss current policy initiatives to reduce disparities including efforts to expand and improve the federal Head Start program for low income children, federal and state quality improvement efforts, and state and local expansions of prekindergarten programs serving three and four year olds.

Keywords:   early childhood education and care, disadvantaged children, ECEC, childcare, Head Start, access to quality education, US

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