Does Race Matter? Exploring the Racial Variation Between Pre-Kindergarten Participation and Academic Achievement Over Time
Srivastava, Sarah Rebecca
Thomas, Adam T
Research has shown that attending a preschool program produces academic, cognitive and behavioral benefits, but that these benefits weaken over time and vary by socioeconomic status and race. Controlling for a wide range of observable child, family, home and school characteristics, this study uses the ECLS-K dataset to evaluate the relationship between Head Start or Center-based pre-K program attendance and math test scores among lower socioeconomic status children by race. I find that while there are short-term gains in math achievement for Black children who attend center based preschool, all benefits that may be associated with pre-K fade by the Spring of 3rd grade across all races. However, other factors related to the child's home and school environments, such as the number of siblings in the home, parents' employment levels and high school graduation status, and the percentage of black students present in the classroom, are significantly associated with math achievement.
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