Although early childhood programs are often cited by legislators and educators as a promising way to mitigate the achievement gap, quality childcare is prohibitively expensive for many families. In 31 states, daycare is more expensive than tuition at in-state colleges and, in 22 states, daycare costs single mothers more than 40% of their average annual income. Unfortunately, child care is becoming increasingly expensive: the cost of child care for families with employed mothers has nearly doubled over the past thirty years. Public Pre-K programs have emerged in response to this issue and are becoming increasingly common; in 2013, 40% of four-year-olds were enrolled in publicly funded Pre-K programs. However, the quality of pre-K programs and the funding for them varies significantly from state to state, as shown in the graphics below.1 Unfortunately, this variance in quality and accessibility is not limited to pre-K: only thirteen states and the District of Columbia require that districts offer full-day kindergarten, and the length-of-day requirements for kindergarten vary from 360 to 1080 hours annually.2
This website aims to explore the work that grassroots organizations across the United States are doing to close the achievement gap through addressing issues of early childhood education. By investing in quality early childhood education and addressing the disparities that students face at the beginning of their academic careers, we can minimize the widening of this gap over time.