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Poverty and early care and education

Three panelists addressed the relationship between poverty and early care and education. Jane Waldfogel summarized current evidence on early childhood policies and suggested that expanding policies that promote early learning, improving income supports, and implementing complementary policies during a child’s years in K–12 schooling could help reduce the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Terri Sabol considered the question of what constitutes “high-quality” early care and education, which is often associated with better outcomes for children, and described two studies of quality assessment tools, suggesting that measures of structural quality such as class size and teacher-child ratios are not consistently associated with children’s learning, whereas measures of the quality of teacher-child interactions are. Christina Weiland considered the implications of scaling up preschool programs that have been successful in improving academic achievement and reducing inequality. She presented the results of a pilot study to expand the Boston Public School’s prekindergarten model to community-based preschools, which brought to light a number of facets of these centers that presented barriers to implementation, but also identified some advantages and opportunities in locating preschools in community-based organizations. This set of articles summarizes their presentations.


Early Childhood Care & Education, Education & Training, Inequality & Mobility, Intergenerational Poverty


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