Access, quality & alignment in early childhood education

Early Childhood Eduction

More than 24 million children ages 5 and younger live in the United States, and about one in eight of them—a little over 3 million—lives in California. Given the rapid brain development during a child’s first five years of life, which lays the foundation for all future learning, California has a compelling interest and responsibility to ensure that programs for young children provide a safe, socially supportive, and effective educational environment.

Considerable research shows that children attending high-quality preschool programs receive significant benefits. California has many good providers; but for a state that once led the nation in early childhood education, early childhood education today is marked by diminished investments in quality, low wages, and highly fractured oversight and implementation.

PACE’s work related to early childhood education is designed to help policymakers understand the challenges in current state policies and develop paths forward toward a high-quality, aligned early childhood system that benefits all California children.

Recent Topic Publications
Obstacles and Opportunities
Over the past several years, there has been much attention and advocacy around “PreK-3 Alignment,” both in California and nationwide. The push for alignment comes in the face of a growing body of research documenting the benefits of attending high…
Assessing the Promise of California's Early Assessment Program for Community Colleges
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…
Getting Down to Facts: School Finance and Governance in California
School Finance and Governance in California
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…
Preschool and K–12 Finance Reform in New Jersey and Texas
In a PACE Working Paper, Co-Director Bruce Fuller and Joseph Wright offer policy and implementation lessons from two states—New Jersey and Texas—that have moved to advance preschool and K–12 finance reform in tandem. These states have assembled the…