Research & Reports

California's Early Learning Landscape:


Unmet Need for Preschool Services in California:  Statewide and Local Analysis - AIR (2016)

Analyzes the unmet need for preschool across California, finding that more than 33,000 California 4 year olds from low-income families, and more than three times as many 3 year olds, are not enrolled in any of the publicly-funded school readiness program for which they are eligible.

Impact of California's Transitional Kindergarten Program, 2013-14 - AIR (2015)

From a study of a large group of TK children, finds that they made significant gains in early literacy skills, math skills, and critical learning skills like managing behavior and thinking flexibly —amounting to as much as a five-month advantage in kindergarten compared to a control group that didn’t have the program

New Kids on the Block: Findings from the First Year of California's State Preschool QRIS Block Grant - The Opportunity Institute (2016)

Shows the State Preschool Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Block Grant has significant potential to drive improvement and support quality in early learning programs for California children, concluding that the Governor and Legislature should maintain the program rather than collapse it into an Early Learning Block Grant, as the Governor has proposed for the 2016-17 budget cycle

California Preschool Study - RAND (2009)

Identifies a shortage of preschool access, quality, and resources; emphasizes the need for children to attend high-quality early learning programs to narrow the achievement gaps; and makes short- and long-term recommendations for policymakers to advance access, quality, and a more efficient and coordinated system with appropriate infrastructure supports

High-Quality Early Childhood Workforce and Programs Support the Best Child Outcomes:


The Building Blocks of High-Quality  Early Childhood Education Programs - Learning Policy Institute (2016)

Summarizes the substantial body of research on  programs demonstrating positive results, as well as the  professional standards for early education, identifying important  elements of quality, focusing on factors that contribute to  meaningful teacher-child interactions

Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation - The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council (2015)

Finds that while much is known about what early childhood professionals need to know, do, and what professional learning supports they need, but that is not fully reflected in current workforce capacities and practices, work settings, policies and infrastructure that set qualifications and provide professional learning, and the government and other funders

Teaching Children Well - Pianta (2011)

Details evidence-based professional development, focusing on a web-based, scalable approach called MyTeachingPartner, or MTP

Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016 - Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (2016)

Analyzes early educator employment conditions and policies, outlines strategies for building strong early childhood teaching workforce for the best school and life outcomes for young children

High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce—Low Compensation Undermines Quality - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education (2016)

Discusses the importance of supporting the early learning workforce not only to improve the quality of early learning programs, but also to ensure fair pay so that they can support their own families

Closing Readiness and Achievement Gaps:


The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3 - Hart and Risley (1995)

Illustrates the learning challenge faced by children in poverty, who reach age 3 having heard 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers

Double Jeopardy - Hernandez (2011)

Finds that children who have lived in poverty and are not reading proficiently in 3rd grade are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate from high school than those who have never been poor

Why Is There So Much Poverty in Cailfornia? - Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality (2015)

Recommends early childhood education as one of five solutions to addressing poverty in an “Equal Opportunity Plan.” Calls attention to how quality early learning treats the causes of poverty by ensuring poor children have the same access to high-quality training and schooling as the rest of California’s children

School Readiness and Later Achievement - Duncan (2007)

Examines links between three key elements of school readiness - school-entry academic, attention, and social-emotional skills - and later school reading and math achievement, reporting that the strongest predictors of later achievement are school-entry math, reading, and attention skills

Broad Benefits of Quality Early Education:


Effects of a School-Based, Early Childhood Intervention on Adult Health and Well-being - Reynolds et. al (2007)

Follows low-income children who attended the high-quality Chicago Child-Parent Center Preschools over 20 years, finding that participants were more likely than non-participants to graduate from high school, and less likely to need special education, be held back a grade, or get in trouble with the law

Effects of State Prekindergarten Programs on Young Children's School Readiness in Five States - NIEER (2007)

Finds that children attending publicly funded pre-k programs in five states (Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia) improve significantly in early language, literacy, and mathematical development regardless of ethnic or socio-economic background

Building the Brain's Air Traffic Control System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function - Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2011)

Details how early experiences shape “executive function”, the group of skills that helps children focus on tasks, organize themselves and manage multiple streams of information at the same time

Michigan's Great Start School Readiness Program - HighScope

Longitudinal evaluations of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs finds benefits for participants, compared to control group, at kindergarten entry, in the primary grades, 4th grade, middle school, and through high school

Return on Investment:


The Economics of Early Childhood Investments - President’s Council of Economic Advisers

describes the economic returns to  investments in childhood development and early education and suggests expanding early learning initiatives would provide benefits to society of more than $8 for every $1 spent, about half of which comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up

Rate of Return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program - Heckman et. al (2009)

Calculates that for every $1 invested in the HighScope Perry Preschool Program, there is a return of $7 to $12 in the form of improved social and economic outcomes

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