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Appendix: Who gets these benefits?

We have looked at how different students are impacted by different combinations of early childhood education, but are different students more likely to attend one over the other? To find out, let’s examine the data.

When we look at all students, 30 percent went to pre-k and half-day kindergarten, while 16 percent went to full-day kindergarten alone. However, examining specific student groups presents a slightly different picture.

  • Black students were as likely to attend pre-k and half-day as full-day kindergarten alone
  • Both white and Hispanic students were more likely to attend pre-k and half-day
  • Both male and female students were more likely to attend pre-k and half-day than full-day alone
  • The more educated the mother, the more likely children were to attend pre-k and half-day
  • Students with higher socioeconomic status were more likely to attend pre-k and half-day
  • Students below the poverty line were only slightly more likely to attend pre-k and half-day than full-day alone
  • ELL students were more likely to attend pre-k and half-day than full-day alone
  • Students who attend a Title I school are less likely to attend pre-k and half-day than students who do not attend a Title I school, but students in both Title I and non-Title I schools were still more likely to attend pre-k and half-day kindergarten than full-day alone.
  • Suburban students are more likely to attend pre-k and half-day than either urban students or rural students

Taken together, we see that for all but a few student groups, students are more likely to attend pre-k and half-day kindergarten than full-day kindergarten alone. However, there are a significant number of students who attend full-day kindergarten alone, particularly the growing student populations of Hispanic and ELL students. These are groups of students where a significant number of students fail to reach reading proficiency by third grade. The data also shows that more advantaged students are more likely to attend pre-k and half-day kindergarten rather than full-day kindergarten alone. This is likely because more advantaged families have the ability to pay for private pre-k programs for their child, while public funds such as Title I are being used by schools to provide their students with full-day kindergarten.

(The data comes from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) restricted dataset from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The data represents 1998 kindergarteners.)


Published November 2011.
This document is part of a study written and researched by Jim Hull, Center for Public Education's Senior Policy Analyst.

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Home > Organizing a school > Starting out right: pre-k and kindergarten: at a glance > Appendix: Who gets these benefits?