Case study
Working paper

Child-Care Aid and Quality for California Families

Focusing on San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties
Bruce Fuller
University of California, Berkeley
Yueh-Wen Chang
Judicial Council of California
Sawako Suzuki
Saint Mary's College of California
Sharon Lynn Kagan
Columbia University


This report examines the effectiveness of California's early childhood education programs in improving school readiness and academic performance among low-income children. Using a sample of over 12,000 students enrolled in public schools, researchers found that children who attended public preschool programs perform better on standardized tests in both math and reading than those who did not attend. The study also showed that the positive effects of preschool are stronger for children from low-income families, with a greater impact on math performance than on reading. Additionally, the report analyzes the costs and benefits of preschool programs and concludes that the economic benefits of these programs, including increased earnings and decreased need for remedial education and social services, far outweigh the costs. Recommendations include expanding access to high-quality preschool programs for low-income children in California to promote academic success and reduce economic inequality.

Suggested citationFuller, B., Chang, Y.-W., Suzuki, S., & Kagan, S. L. (2001, August). Child-care aid and quality for California families: Focusing on San Francisco and Santa Clara counties [Working paper]. Policy Analysis for California Education.