According to a new study from Rutgers University, high quality education and racial equity in preschool, helps to eliminate the racial achievement gap.
The June policy analysis by the National Institute of Early Education Research concludes that preschools have more influence on the academic trajectory of children of color than previously thought — a finding that is particularly relevant with the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting rollback of many preschool initiatives.
The key question of the study was: “What would happen if all children attend pre-K programs that are of uniformly high quality?” To answer this, researchers studied children in programs that provided such quality in Boston and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Results showed that high-quality preschool experiences significantly narrowed reading and math skills gaps between Black and white children by the onset of kindergarten. Just one year of high quality preschool made a difference, the study found, virtually eliminating the racial reading gap and cutting the math gap in half.
NIEER’s policy analysis notes that a recent analysis of the connection between high-quality pre-k and 4th grade test scores provides evidence that high-quality preschool programs narrow the racial achievement gap through elementary school. The impact was especially strong in school districts with a high Black population, and was true only for states identified as having high-quality pre-k programs.
For a more detailed look at this study, click here to read an article shared in The Imprint.