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ERIC Number: ED505292
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 59
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
Partnering for Preschool: A Study of Center Directors in New Jersey's Mixed-Delivery Abbott Program. Research Report
Whitebook, Marcy; Ryan, Sharon; Kipnis, Fran; Sakai, Laura
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California at Berkeley
In a series of New Jersey Supreme Court decisions known as Abbott v. Burke, the 28 (now 31) urban school districts serving the state's poorest students were ordered to create systems of high-quality preschool for all three- and four-year-old children, beginning in the 1999-2000 school year. The Abbott Preschool Program now serves approximately 40,000 children, the majority of them in classrooms located in private child care centers. The purpose of this study was to elicit the perspectives of child care and Head Start center directors, who have borne the front-line responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of the Abbott reform. The study has compiled firsthand accounts from directors about their experiences in becoming Abbott contracting sites and operating Abbott classrooms, and their thoughts about how the program might be improved, specifically looking at features related to administration, governance, staffing, and wrap-around services. The study concludes that the New Jersey Abbott Preschool Program represents a public policy achievement that is worthy of emulation by other states and communities. Program designers are credited with addressing several entrenched issues of access and quality. By offering a free service, and by building upon the state's private child care system, the Abbott Program has allowed many children of low-income families to attend a high-quality preschool and to receive a comprehensive array of health and social services. By raising the bar on teacher qualifications, investing in the state's higher education system, providing tuition assistance, and funding salary increases to create parity with to K-12 teachers, Abbott is helping a new generation of early childhood educators build lasting careers with young children, and assuring centers a more skilled and stable workforce. In addition, private centers have received an investment in materials and support that have shown that quality improvement can be realized. Recommendations include: (1) Enhanced collaboration among state agencies; (2) Enhanced collaboration between state agencies and school districts; (3) Enhanced collaboration between school districts and private centers; (4) Policies to minimize the difficulties in blending preschool and wrap-around services; (5) Minimize inequities among teaching staff within and across preschool centers; (6) Provide ongoing mentoring and support for center directors about staff development and equity issues within centers; (7) Develop a training and professional development system that is accessible to working adults and leads to a skilled and diverse early childhood teacher workforce; and (8) Promote ongoing leadership development for publicly funded, mixed-delivery preschool services. (Contains 13 tables.) [Additional support for this research was provided by the National Institute for Early Education Research and the Schumann Fund for New Jersey.]
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California at Berkeley, 2521 Channing Way #5555, Berkeley, CA 94720. Tel: 510-643-7091; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Authoring Institution: University of California, Berkeley, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Abbott v Burke