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ERIC Number: ED558073
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Universal Preschool in Iowa: Steps Needed to Ensure Equity and Access
Bruner, Charles; Discher, Anne
Child and Family Policy Center
Iowa established the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SVPP) in 2007. It has grown to be the largest--although not the only--public preschool program in the state. It is available without regard to family income. Iowa also supports preschool for low-income children through its Shared Visions program and Early Childhood Iowa, the early-childhood system-building initiative. In addition, the federal government funds Head Start for low-income children and, along with the state, special education preschool for children with developmental disabilities. Some local school districts offer additional preschool slots on a fee basis or using federal Title I or local funds. Sometimes these programs "wrap-around" one another to provide longer preschool experiences. For instance, children participating in Head Start also may participate in SVPP in the same classroom, thereby extending the preschool experience to a full day. In addition to publicly-financed programs, Iowa parents send their children to an array of private preschools. Developing a composite picture of which children are served by which--or any--public preschool program is important in order to understand the degree to which Iowa's current array of preschool programs is available to all children and to identify gaps in usage. Child & Family Policy Center (CFPC) secured currently available information from the Iowa Department of Education's statewide longitudinal database to begin assessing how well SVPP and other public preschool programs reach Iowa children. Although fragmented, there is already sufficient data to show differences in preschool participation rates by income, race/ethnicity, English language learner status, and geography. Policy recommendations include: (1) Additional outreach efforts and focus on enrolling into preschool underserved populations (low-income children and English language learners, in particular; (2) Additional options, incentives or requirements that expand preschool opportunities in underserved parts of the state; and (3) A more robust statewide data system that can comprehensively track and analyze all forms of preschool participation entered into a student record. A detailed summary of available data is provided.
Child and Family Policy Center. 505 5th Avenue Suite 404, Des Moines, IA 50309. Tel: 515-280-9027; Fax: 515-244-8997; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Information Analyses
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Kindergarten; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Child and Family Policy Center
Identifiers - Location: Iowa
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I