Policy Changes Lead to Improved Pre-K Enrollment in Chicago

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Researchers from three research organizations in Chicago have concluded that policy changes implemented to create more equitable enrollment in Chicago Public Schools’ pre-K programs have been effective. Nearly seven years ago, city officials used census data to identify disadvantaged neighborhoods where children needed pre-K the most. They both converted existing half-day pre-K programs to full-day and added additional full-day pre-K programs in these areas. Researchers found that over the course of the past six years, the proportion of elementary schools offering full-day pre-K quadrupled from 10 percent to 41 percent, and full day enrollment rates increased from 3.2 percent in 2010-2011 to 11.6 percent in 2015-16. The analysis also showed that the children most likely to enroll in full day pre-K were Black and enrollment rates tripled among Black students and children from the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods.

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