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How much can high-quality universal pre-k reduce achievement gaps?
Recognizing the tremendous potential for high-quality preschool to improve children's outcomes, this report considers how a universal publicly funded prekindergarten program in the United States could decrease both disparities in access to early learning and achievement gaps at kindergarten entry. Data from two nationally representative datasets and prior results from evaluations of high-quality universal pre-kindergarten were analyzed to estimate the extent to which a national high-quality universal pre-K, or UPK, program would reduce achievement gaps at kindergarten entry based on children's race/ethnicity and income. The following sections provide a review of the research on achievement gaps based on race/ethnicity and income; describe the effects of high-quality early education programs on children's achievement; and outline current inequalities in access to high-quality early education programs. The report concludes with empirical evidence that points to the potential of a national high-quality UPK program to reduce achievement gaps at kindergarten entry. (author abstract)
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