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“State-Level Investments in Early Childhood Education: Evidence of Short and Long-term Impacts”

Professor Jade Jenkins, UC Irvine
May 08, 2019 from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-700)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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In partnership with UCI Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute

Recent proposals at the federal and state levels aim to expand public early childhood education (ECE) programs, and specifically push for universal access to age-4 preschool programs. Yet the research on short-run impacts of ECE show mixed results, and research on long-run impacts are generated from high-quality, small-scale interventions targeted to low-income children, with limited evidence on how universal state-level interventions influence children’s achievement and attainment. Jenkins describes the context of state-level ECE policies, and evidence of impacts on children’s well-being. This talk examines a study on the origins of, and attendance mandates for, now universal American kindergarten programs, to identify the impact of ECE on children’s long-run outcomes. While in most states kindergarten began as a voluntary program, between 1970-2015 some states evolved to mandating kindergarten attendance. This quasi-experimental approach exploits different sources of policy variation to causally identify the influence of an additional year of ECE on individual education and labor market outcomes, comparing states with mandatory attendance to those with voluntary attendance. Findings indicate overall impacts of mandatory kindergarten attendance on educational attainment in adulthood, with women and underrepresented minorities benefiting most in terms of educational attainment and income.

Jade M. Jenkins is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Irvine School of Education Jenkins Photostudying early childhood policy. Her work is multidisciplinary, focusing on issues that are amenable to educational and social policy intervention, using diverse research methods to evaluate programs and understand the mechanisms that promote child and family wellbeing. Professor Jenkins received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Florida in Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After the M.S. program, Professor Jenkins worked at a quasi-governmental nonprofit in Florida’s early childhood care and education system. Professor Jenkins specializes in early childhood development evaluating and developing policies that provide support for families with young children and reduce poverty in the long-term.



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Please click her to view the PowerPoint presentation.

Please click here for the Policy Brief. 

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