Does low-quality ECE lead to negative outcomes for children?

This question relates back to the inherent tension between ECE quality and access. A high quality programs can be defined as one providing a safe, secure environment offering opportunities to play and explore, with an integrated curriculum addressing all areas of development. High quality programs will provide opportunities for cognitive, social-emotional, and language skills growth, along with physical development.  On the one hand, we know that high-quality care can improve child outcomes. On the other, with a limited budget, lower-quality, cheaper programs offer care to more children. If there were clear evidence that low-quality ECE leads to negative child outcomes—or does not significantly improve outcomes—policymakers could prioritize a baseline of quality, even at the expense of additional slots, confident in the knowledge that opting for more low-quality slots would be harmful or wasteful.

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Have other states used lottery systems to fund ECE programming?

Have other states used lottery systems to fund ECE programming? If so, how do their funding mechanisms work, and what kinds of impacts have these new systems had on existing systems?

Georgia established a new state lottery in 1993; profits from the lottery were dedicated to funding a number of educational programs, including state-subsidized Pre-K for low-income four-year-olds. In 1995, Georgia became the first state in the US to provide universal Pre-K to four-year-olds, relying substantially on lottery profits to fund the expansion. Georgia's experiences provide valuable insight into the challenges and advantages of employing lottery funding to support ECE; and into the pros and cons of universal, versus means-tested, Pre-K models. Below are some brief, informative takeaways taken from a Foundation for Child Development report:

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Why UPK?

Why develop Universal Pre-K and not target programs (and spending) towards children who need it most?

When resources are limited and many children need pre-k services, it is tempting to consider providing services only for the children who are defined to be most at-risk of facing subsequent school and life challenges - often defined by targeting children from families earning below a particular income level. But there are good reasons to make preschool programs universal - available to all children of eligible age living in the city. Here are some:

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How are Cities Paying for UPK?

Can you suggest some funding strategies for our expanded pre-K? What are other cities doing?

Currently, there is strong political and public support for early childhood education—across the country and in cities. A 2013 article from EdCentral describes the context at that time: “There is a clear focus in each city on leveraging public and private resources to finance publicly funded pre-K. Denver and San Antonio utilize a voter-approved dedicated funding stream through a new tax, which not only protects the funding from the city or state budget process, but also makes clear that local residents support prioritizing early education spending. These local efforts are also taking place in states that already provide state-funded pre-K, as in Oklahoma. In these instances, the local funding streams are designed to make up for shortfalls in state funding rather than to build a new program from scratch.”

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