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This article focuses on California's efforts to improve the alignment between K–12 and postsecondary schooling through the Early Assessment Program (EAP). Implemented in 2004, EAP was designed to give high school students information about their academic preparedness for postsecondary education and to encourage teachers to teach for college readiness. The article describes the EAP and its evolution and presence at California's community colleges. It then matches EAP and other test score data for California high school juniors to administrative data from California community colleges to...
School Finance and Governance in California
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Getting Down to Facts is the largest independent investigation ever of how California governs and funds public education. It was commissioned at the request of a bipartisan group of California leaders, including the governor’s Advisory Committee on Educational Excellence, the president protem of the California Senate, the speaker of the California Assembly, the superintendent of public instruction, and the state secretary of education. The purpose of this unprecedented project was to describe California’s school finance and governance systems, identify aspects of those systems that hinder the...
Centers and Home Settings that Serve Poor Families
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The effects of center-based care on early development, outside of carefully controlled demonstration programs, appear to be positive, if modest, for children from low-income families. But little is known about variation in the quality of centers and preschools found among low-income neighborhoods. Evidence also remains scarce on the observed quality of home-based care, the settings that most children attend and into which large infusions of federal dollars are now directed. This paper reports on the observed quality of 166 centers and 187 nonparental home settings (including family childcare...
Early Learning Effects of Type, Quality, and Stability
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Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in nonparental care because of policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality, center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet, little is known about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children who were between 12 and 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care. Children also display stronger...
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For the changes under welfare reform to posi­tively affect children, the gains that mothers make from employment must lead to improve­ments in children's daily settings at home, in childcare, at school, or in the community. This article focuses on the role childcare can play in promoting the development of, and life oppor­tunities for, low-income children. Key observa­tions include: Total federal and state funding for childcare for welfare and working poor families has in­creased dramatically since welfare reform, from $2.8 billion in 1995 to $8.0 billion in 2000. The majority of welfare...
How Mothers Balance Work Requirements and Parenting
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This paper examines the reasoning and experiences of mothers in selecting childcare while trying to meet welfare-to-work requirements. Three theoretical positions that have been used to look at child care selection—rational choice, structuralist, and cultural—are examined and critiqued in light of a structural developmental psychology perspective. The paper reports on semi-structured, open-ended interviews with seven mothers from three different ethnic groups—African-American, Anglo, and Latina—who range in age from 21 to 42. Interviews covered a 15 month period following the mothers’...
The Influence of Family Structure, Parental Practices, and Home Language
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Recent work reveals sharp disparities in which types of children participate in center and preschools. Enrollment rates are especially low for Latino children, relative to Black and Anglo preschoolers, a gap that remains after taking into account maternal employment and family income. Early attempts to model parents' likelihood of enrolling their youngster in a center have drawn heavily from the household-economics tradition, emphasizing the influence of cost and family income. Yet this article shows that after controlling for household-economic factors, the household's social structure and...
Variation by Geographic Location, Maternal Characteristics, and Family Structure
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More than half of all U.S. infants and toddlers spend at least 20 hours per week in the care of a nonparent adult. This article uses survival analysis to identify which families are most likely to place their child in care, and the ages when these choices are made. Using data from a national probability sample of 2,614 households, the median age at first placement is 33 months, but age varies by geographic region, mother's employment status during pregnancy, mother's education level, and family structure (one vs. two parents, mother's age at first birth, and number of siblings). Controlling...
The Influence of Household Support, Ethnicity, and Parental Practices
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Accumulating evidence shows that young children benefit develop­mentally by participating in quality childcare centers and preschools. But we know little about which family characteristics and home practices influence parents' selection of a center-based program. This article reports on the influence of the family's social-structural attributes, ethnicity, and parental practices on the likelihood of selecting a center-based program, after taking into account economic characteristics. The odds that parents enroll their child in a center-based program are greatest when mothers are more highly...
Editors' Introduction
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This issue of Education and Urban Society was devoted to the topic of integrated children's services. More specifically, most of the articles in the volume centered on school-linked services. The concept underlying school­-linked services is a rather simple one: The school becomes the "hub," or focal point, of a broad range of child- and family-oriented social services. Schools do not assume primary responsibility for these additional services, but act as the organizational touchpoint to make services available, accessible, meaningful, and appropriate for children and their families. The...
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In December 1992, 25 people gathered in a conference room in Sacramento, California. Each individual attending the meeting represented a different children's advocacy group. Some were concerned particularly about preschoolers and child care arrangements; for others, professional interests revolved around children's health issues. Still others focused their efforts on child nutrition or elementary education programs. These people met in Sacramento as members of a state-appointed task force to design the implementation strategy for a new law which all of their organizations had supported in its...
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After taking a back seat to education reform pro­grams during the 1980s, school finance is again in the forefront. With the re­cent sweeping state supreme court deci­sions overturning school finance struc­tures in Kentucky, New Jersey, and Tex­as, and with active or planned cases in 23 additional states, education finance liti­gation, fiscal inequities, and school fi­nance reform have rebounded to high places on state education policy agendas. This article discusses the changing contours of school finance through the 1970s and 1980s and outlines the key is­sues in school finance for the 1990s...
Overcoming Barriers, Creating New Opportunities
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Childhood is changing. More chil­dren are unhealthy—physically and mentally. More children suffer from substance abuse and child abuse, from inadequate child care, and from family disorganization. More and more students from single­ parent families and from minority and non-English­ speaking backgrounds are entering the public schools that have never done a good job of meeting the needs of non-middle-class, nonwhite, non-English-speaking children. School leaders must understand how chil­dren's educational prospects are affected by their daily lives. Childhood is changing, and schools must...
Issues and Options for Early Childhood Programs
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The growing demand for compensatory education and for child care has generated a rash of federal legislation; many states have enacted new early childhood programs, most of them located within schooling systems, and many others are considering their options. This article examines the basic policy issues governments confront in early childhood education, including the content of programs, their financing, and the inevitable trade-off between cost and quality. The final section of the article outlines the available policy options. This article was originally published in the American Journal of...