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The Availability of Early Childhood Education and Care in the United States: Exploring Links Between Policy, Availability and Effects, 1990-2005

Year: 2010
Name of Institution:
Stanford University
Goal: Exploration
Principal Investigator:
Loeb, Susanna
Award Amount: $607,864
Award Period: 2 years
Award Number: R305A100574

Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Daphna Bassok

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the availability of early childhood education and care (ECEC), explore the extent to which policies and regulations impact supply, and examine the link between supply and child outcomes. This study will explore the impact of childcare regulations across all types of early childhood education and care settings including family day care homes, private child care, Head Start, and state-funded preschool programs. The research team will address the policy and practice implications of the study findings.

Project Activities: The research team will use nine data sets to answer research questions related to the availability of early childhood care and education services and children's school readiness. These data sets provide comprehensive information on early childhood education, including information about child care regulations, businesses, and child outcome data. The research team will complete descriptive analyses and estimate regression models to examine the primary research questions.

Products: Products include information regarding the availability of early childhood education programs, the characteristics of the early childhood workforce, and the relationship between child care supply and children's outcomes. It is expected that the findings from this Exploration study will inform the design of Development and Innovation projects to address early childhood policy and practice issues such as the high turnover rate in the early childhood workforce. The study findings will be summarized in conference presentations and published reports.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research team will use several secondary data sets to answer the proposed research questions. See descriptions under Population.

Population: The study population includes child care businesses, members of the early childhood workforce, and children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

  • The Longitudinal Business Database was constructed by the Census Bureau. This data set includes information on the names and addresses of child care businesses.
  • The Integrated Longitudinal Business Database, a Census Bureau data set, includes information on family day care businesses.
  • The Common Core of Data is a program from the National Center for Education Statistics. This data set includes the number of public school, pre-kindergarten children enrolled in each school and the number of pre-kindergarten teachers at the district level.
  • The Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics Infrastructure files, a Census Bureau data set, provides demographic data about child care workers. Data on child care employers and businesses are also included in this data set.
  • The Blau, Hotz, Kilburn, and Xiao child care regulations data set includes information on state regulations for coursework, degree training and experience and other requirements for child care centers and family day care homes.
  • The Child Care Licensing and Family Child Care Licensing studies provide information on state child care regulations for staff-to-child ratios, classroom size and other structural characteristics of child care settings.
  • The National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 Child Survey (NLSY79C) provides child-level data on child outcomes. In 1979, the Bureau of Labor Statistics collected data on a nationally representative sample of young men and women to participate in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY79). The NLSY79C data set includes the children of women who participated in the NLSY study. The NLSY79C sample includes approximately 6,000 children who were born between 1990 and 2005.
  • The Early Childhood Longitudinal studies provide child-level data on child outcomes. The study sample includes data for the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) data set, which includes a nationally representative sample of children born in 2001. The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) data set provides information on a nationally representative sample of children who entered kindergarten during the 1998–1999 school year. The ECLS-B and ECLS-K study samples include children from a range of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds.

Intervention: Not applicable.

Research Design and Methods: The primary aims of this project are to: (1) provide a longitudinal, national examination of the supply of early childhood education; (2) explore the extent to which child care regulations impact the supply of child care; and (3) examine the link between early child care supply and children's school readiness outcomes. A number of research questions will be addressed.

  • Availability of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC): How is the availability of ECEC, overall and by type, systematically related to community characteristics such as income, education levels, race, ethnicity and nativity? How did this availability change between 1990 and 2005?
  • The Role of ECEC Regulations: How do policies which aim to regulate the quality of ECEC opportunities affect the availability of ECEC as measured by the different types of ECEC programs and the number and characteristics of early childhood workers?
  • ECEC Availability and Child Outcomes: How is ECEC availability associated with the developmental and school readiness outcomes of pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners, as measured by pre-literacy and pre-math skills, and evaluations of social and emotional development?

In year 1 of the study, the research team will construct a data set on family day care, center care and state preschool regulations and conduct preliminary analyses to examine the availability of early childhood care and education between 1993 and 2005. The research team will look at the overall availability of ECEC providers, trends in the career trajectories of members of the early childhood workforce and the relationship between the availability of ECEC providers and community characteristics. Preliminary analyses will be conducted to examine the relationship between ECEC regulations and the availability of ECEC providers. The research team will also combine the ECEC availability data with data from the ECLS-B, ECLS-K and the NLSY79C to examine the relationship between the availability of early childhood care and education programs and children's school readiness outcomes in preschool and kindergarten. In year 2 of the study, the research team will conduct final analyses and report the study findings.

Control Condition: Not applicable.

Key Measures: The research team will use information available on state policies and regulations regarding ECEC businesses and caregivers to measures of children's kindergarten readiness based on their pre-literacy and pre-mathematics competency, social skills, motor skills, and other measures in the ECLS and NLSY79C.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will complete descriptive analyses and estimate regression models using fixed effects methods to examine the primary research questions.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Bassok, D., Fitzpatrick, M., and Loeb, S. (2014). Does State Preschool Crowd-out Private Provision? The Impact of Universal Preschool on the Childcare Sector in Oklahoma and Georgia. Journal of Urban Economics, 83, 18–33.

Bassok, D., Fitzpatrick, M., Greenberg, E., and Loeb, S. (2016). Within-and Between-Sector Quality Differences in Early Childhood Education and Care. Child Development, 87(5), 1627–1645.

Bassok, D., Fitzpatrick, M., Loeb, S., and Paglayan, A. S. (2013). The Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce from 1990 Through 2010: Changing Dynamics and Persistent Concerns. Education Finance and Policy, 8(4), 581–601.