Century Reads

A Better Start
30 Pages
Education, Improving Access to Quality Public Schools

A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education

By Jeanne L. Reid, Sharon Lynn Kagan, Michael Hilton, Halley Potter

This report will be published April 29, 2015.

Over the past decade, public investments in early childhood education have increased, and policymakers have focused on creating high-quality, sustainable preschool programs. However, largely missing from early childhood policy discussions is consideration of classroom diversity and how it affects the equity, quality, and sustainability of preschool programs. Studies have shown that socioeconomically and racially diverse preschool classrooms offer important cognitive and social benefits for children, but few children enrolled in public preschool programs have access to these types of classrooms. 

A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education summarizes what we know about racial and economic diversity in Head Start and state pre-K classrooms, discusses how diversity and quality are linked, and recommends steps policymakers can take to increase diversity in preschool classrooms.

If you are interested in this topic, please consider attending our event on April 29, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

About the Author(s)

Jeanne L. Reid is a research scientist at the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University. Sharon Lynn Kagan is the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy and co-director of the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University, and professor adjunct at the Child Study Center, Yale University. Michael Hilton is a policy analyst at the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Halley Potter is a fellow at The Century Foundation.

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