ERIC Number: ED483239
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep-9
Prekindergarten: Four Selected States Expanded Access by Relying on Schools and Existing Providers of Early Education and Care to Provide Services. Report to Congressional Requesters. GAO-04-852
Shaul, Marnie S.
US Government Accountability Office
For nearly 40 years, the federal government has helped provide early childhood development for children of low-income families through Head Start and other programs. This study examined how Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma expanded their preschool programs for at-risk students to serve more children, focusing on: how programs were designed and funded; potential implications of these program features for children's participation and other programs that served 4-year-olds; and outcome data that had been collected on participating children and families. Researchers reviewed program information and interviewed state officials, local education program officials, Head Start grantees and directors of large child care facilities during site visits to the four states. They also reviewed selected data on child care availability in these states and the nation. Expanded programs in the four states had some similarities in design features. For example, they were offered at no direct cost to parents, regardless of family income, and each state incorporated some level of collaboration with community-based providers such as Head Start and large child care facilities. Some key differences in design features also existed. Georgia and Oklahoma had statewide programs providing prekindergarten services to over half of their 4-year-olds, while New York's and New Jersey's programs were more geographically targeted. States and school districts also varied in teacher qualifications, percentage of prekindergarten children served by community-based providers, funding methods, and amount of funding per child. Some program features had potential implications for participation of children and for early childhood programs. None of the four states required providers to transport all children to and from the program, and many children were enrolled in half-day programs. There were few data for determining the impact of state prekindergarten expansion on availability or price of child care. Some data were available on outcomes for participating children, but less was known about impacts on families. None of the four states had measured effects on families, such as parents' work effort. The study scope and methodology are appended.
Descriptors: State Programs, Young Children, Educationally Disadvantaged, Low Income Groups, Financial Support, Federal Programs, Program Design, Program Evaluation, Outcomes of Education, Preschool Education
U.S. Government Accountability Office, 441 G Street NW, Room LM, Washington, DC 20548. Tel: 202-512-6000; Fax: 202-512-6061.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.