**Indicates that the initiative will cover the entire school district under plans to expand.

Source:?Case studies published?on the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education website (www.boldapproach.org/case-studies)

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What do comprehensive or “whole-child” approaches to education include?

Because they are designed by stakeholders to leverage each community’s unique assets and meet its specific needs, no two comprehensive approaches are exactly alike. Most?(but not all) employ schools as hubs, they can involve?a variety of school–community partnerships, and the mix and level of public and private funding for programs?varies widely. But all of these whole-child approaches have the following components in common:

How have case study districts invested in early childhood care and education?

While early childhood education is widely recognized as a critical means of advancing school readiness, and almost every state now invests at least minimally in pre-K programs for disadvantaged children, access is far from universal, quality is very uneven, and pre-K is only one of several early childhood interventions that are needed. (Other interventions are described below.) Most of the case study districts have used creative strategies and funding mechanisms to enhance state programs or fill in holes in pre-K access. Where state programs already provide quality early education for all children from low-income families, as in Kentucky, the whole child initiative can leverage freed-up local resources to fund early childhood specialists who provide coaching, professional development, and support for pre-K and Head Start teachers, as well as in-home tutoring for students over the summer. Where state pre-K programs are weak or patchwork, local initiatives can fill in those holes. Austin, Texas; Pea Ridge, Arkansas; and Joplin, Missouri, have leveraged district and/or private funds to expand access to high-quality pre-K for their most vulnerable young children. Pea Ridge, for example, sought a foundation grant to establish its program; seats for low-income students are funded through a combination of grant money and paid seats (for preschoolers from higher-income families).

And because more and earlier supports are critical to meaningful school readiness, almost all of the 12 districts have gone beyond these pre-K investments to enhance early childhood care and education experiences long before entry into kindergarten and to engage parents in activities that ensure their children are ready for school. (Several also use full-day kindergarten to sustain early gains and to smooth the transition into elementary school.)

Because parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, earlier efforts tend to focus on engaging parents and working with parents and children together. In Minneapolis’s Northside Achievement Zone, parents have access to “College Bound Babies,” a parenting class that teaches early literacy, numeracy, and positive discipline skills, and the zone’s “Foundations” program helps empower parents to be strong advocates for their children and their children’s schools. In Joplin and Vancouver, kits for new parents are delivered to hospitals with information on child development, activities to try at home, and links to community resources.

Other investments in young children and their families include outdoor play-and-learn opportunities for parents and their children such as Clay County, Kentucky’s Community Storywalk and Joplin’s Born Learning Trail.

How are districts investing in K–12 strategies to sustain and amplify early childhood investments?

These 12 case study?districts bring to bear a broad set of interventions to sustain the gains from whole-child approaches as children transition to kindergarten and advance through elementary, middle, and high school. Components include enriching curricula and in-class experiences; lessons that are aligned with hands-on out-of-school activities that are available to all students; mentoring and tutoring to ensure strong adult–student relationships; and targeted strategies designed to improve students’ readiness for college, careers, and civic engagement.

Joplin, Missouri, and Pea Ridge, Arkansas, students and their teachers enjoy service learning projects that range from kindergartners organizing coat drives and canned food drives for their neighbors to high school students designing and implementing water research projects and reporting to the city’s water management agency on the health and safety of the city’s water supply. And in Boston, school coordinators for City Connects meet at the start of the year with teachers to discuss each student’s unique strengths and needs; these conversations are used to develop plans to support teachers as they work with their students. For example, the range of talents and needs in?a given teacher’s classroom may call for arts and music activities, small-group sessions on healthy eating, training on dealing with bullies, and referrals to mental health providers.18

A number of districts focus in particular on helping students—many of whom will be the first in their families to go to college—prepare for and make that transition. Strategies include early exposure to postsecondary campuses for Joplin and Pea Ridge students; programs to help middle-school students in Joplin, Missouri, and Vancouver, Washington?transition to high school; and clubs and specialized courses that teach organizational and social skills to students in Vancouver, Washington, and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Providing students and parents with health care through partnerships with local doctors and hospitals and in-school health clinics, expanding school meals programs, and connecting families with food and clothing pantries complement these K–12 strategies. When the full range of children’s needs is met, they are mentally and emotionally better able to focus.19 And extending supports to the entire family—as East Durham, North Carolina, does by referring parents to and/or providing nutrition counseling programs, cooking demonstrations, Zumba classes, and walking groups—increases parents’ capacity to be better partners in their children’s education.

Indeed, engaging parents, perhaps the greatest challenge in most high-poverty schools and districts, is a hallmark of strength in these communities. In Vancouver and New York City, the whole-child education experience is delivered by full-service community schools (community schools are public schools that serve as hubs for the provision of academic, health, and social services to students and families). Community schools in Vancouver and New York City specialize in outreach and engagement, drawing on parental input to shape school policies and practices and providing parents with opportunities to collaborate.

Policy (and financial) incentives established in recent years have prompted most other schools, in contrast, to focus heavily on a narrow set of academic factors and associated assessments. Schools with this limited focus often fail to ensure that after-school and summer enrichment programs are accessible to low-income students and neglect to build strong teacher–student relationships and address the full range of children’s needs, all of which are core characteristics of whole-child K–12 strategies.

How can we tell that the investments are paying off?

Providing children and their families with a broad range of supports from birth through 12th grade (and, in some cases, beyond) has helped these districts make progress toward a range of goals. In addition to traditional measures of progress, like higher scores on standardized tests or higher districtwide graduation rates, these districts are looking to improve kindergarten readiness, enhance student and parent engagement in schools, and narrow income- and race-based gaps in students’ access to tools that prepare them for college, careers, and civic life. In addition to tracking student progress toward the broader set of goals, the data they collect on these measures enable them to continually improve their work and better target student supports.

Students in these whole-child districts tend to be better prepared for kindergarten, as measured by their development across a range of academic, social, and behavioral domains. They also tend to score higher on standardized tests and to graduate at higher rates than their peers in comparable districts. Just as important, the strategies have improved students’ engagement and their health and well-being; increased parent?engagement in their children’s education and schools; and better prepared students for college, careers, and civic engagement. The students’ enhanced life skills, in particular, are likely attributable in large part to these districts’ emphasis on enriching experiences for all students, in contrast to providing students in wealthy schools with enrichment while subjecting students in high-poverty schools to narrow curricula and activities focused on improving their performance on standardized tests. Finally, these districts are narrowing race- and income-based achievement gaps, in stark contrast to rapidly growing K–12 achievement gaps at the national level between wealthy and poor students.

Evidence of gains: Examples from case study districts

Kindergarten readiness: An assessment of 31 participants in East Durham’s Stepping Stones summer readiness program found that while 83 percent were not ready for kindergarten when they entered the program (based on a pre-test of their academic, self-regulation, social expression, and motor skills), only 17 percent were deemed not ready after completing the program. And similar tracking of prekindergartners in Minneapolis’s Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) finds that NAZ students are 14 percentage points more likely than their non-NAZ peers to be ready for kindergarten.

Standardized test scores: Elementary school students participating in Boston’s City Connects program have much higher scores than their peers outside the program in both reading and math on the Stanford Achievement Test as well as on state standardized tests. Despite being poorer, on average, than other Kentucky students, students in Kentucky’s Eastern?Promise Neighborhood counties had larger gains in test scores in both reading and math than their state peers (gains of 7.3 and 7.0 percent compared with?5.3 and 4.4 percent, respectively).

Student engagement: African American and Hispanic high school students in Joplin, Missouri, closed the attendance gap with their white peers, with the district’s overall attendance rate rising above 95 percent. And in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, the “youngest” of the initiatives studied, a set of resources—donations of boots and clothing, health screenings, and funds for licensing exams—have enabled students to participate in extracurricular and career-training activities that would otherwise have been out of reach.

Parent engagement: A six-year study of Children’s Aid Society community schools in New York City found?that parents were more involved, took more responsibility for their children’s education, and were more present in the schools than were parents of children in comparison schools. And in the eastern Kentucky region served by Partners for Education, parents have translated their leadership training experiences into joining school counsels and successfully running for school boards.

College, career, and civic/life readiness: A growing number of poverty-affected students in Vancouver, Washington, are completing the district’s most rigorous coursework: from 2007 to 2015, overall enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) courses increased 67 percent, while the increase among low-income students was nearly 200 percent. A similar pattern was seen for extended (five-year) graduation rates: large gains overall, with disproportionate gains for students of color. These data suggest that high-level course placements translate into longer-term dividends. Parallel gains in Kalamazoo are translating into promising futures for African American girls in that city: these girls are graduating high school at higher rates than their state-level peers, and 85 percent of those who graduate go on to college.

These achievements are drawing the attention of other districts and even state leaders, who have adapted the comprehensive approaches laid out above to improve other high-needs schools.

The successes also stand out in two other important respects. First, in contrast to some other initiatives (mostly at the individual school level) that report major gains for vulnerable groups of students, these schools did not cherry-pick higher-performing students to get their results.20 Rather, they serve every child in the enrollment area for a school, a cluster of schools, or, in some cases, an?the entire district—regardless of the backgrounds and needs of those children. And several initiatives (such as those in East Durham and Minneapolis) are serving some of their cities’, and the nation’s, most vulnerable students. Second, these initiatives share little in common with so-called turnaround initiatives that were highly touted in the past decade. Federally funded efforts to “turn around” low-performing or “failing” public schools often involved firing a large share of the teaching staff, replacing principals, or even shutting down schools and sending the students to new schools, often operated by charter administrators.21 The?case study districts, in contrast, keep students, teachers, and principals in the same school building, bringing the new, supports-based approach to where students are and engaging educators (and parents) as partners in and leaders of the effort. The less disruptive nature of the whole-child approach makes the large gains in these districts particularly striking when compared with the evident lack of progress by districts undergoing federal turnaround strategies.22

What is the ‘good news’ emerging from our research?

Despite steadily increasing income inequality over our assessment period, compounded by the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, most skills gaps between kindergartners of low and high social classes have not grown.23

Why did gaps stay the same rather than radically expanding? A likely factor is that, over the period studied, parents across all social class groups became more involved in their young children’s early education, with the increase in engagement being especially pronounced among low-SES parents. While low-SES parents in 2010 were no more likely to enroll their children in center-based pre-K than their 1998 counterparts, they were more likely to have read regularly to their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers and to have sung to them and played games with them. The 2010 parents also had significantly higher expectations for their children’s educational attainment, and mothers themselves were better educated. All of these factors are associated with higher achievement for children. This change occurring within an academic generation suggests that today’s parents are more aware of the importance of children’s early years and doing more of what developing brain research indicates they need to do. In turn, this increased awareness indicates that information about early brain development is more widely and effectively disseminated than it was for the 1998–1999 cohort.

Also, as the case studies indicate, some communities are embracing systems of comprehensive enrichment and supports to close skills gaps based on social class and to provide children with a more authentic equality of opportunity. By setting more expansive goals and implementing ways to track progress toward these goals, these districts are creating a body of knowledge about strategies that work. This guidance is timely, given that the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) asks states, districts, and schools to take the lead in shaping education improvement strategies and holds them accountable not just for students’ growth in traditional academic subjects but in social and emotional skills as well. As such, many of these whole-child approaches now serve as role models for other districts or for entire regions, and a few are beginning to influence state policy as well.

What is the ‘bad news’ and how can we respond to it?

Despite the positive trends outlined above—the growing awareness of the importance of the first years of life in child development, increased understanding of the serious impact of child poverty on that development, and the expansion of pre-K programs nationwide—gaps between the school readiness of low-SES children and their more advantaged peers have not shrunk. The persistence of these large gaps indicates that policy responses at all levels of government are not commensurate to the scale of the problem. Pre-K programs have expanded over the past decade but have done so slowly and unevenly: both access and quality are still wildly disparate across states and overall availability is severely insufficient.24 Home visiting programs (to support pregnant women and parents of infants and toddlers) and quality child care are still in too-short supply.25 Child poverty has increased sharply, as has its concentration, and the schools into which the most disadvantaged children enter face increasing economic and racial segregation but even fewer resources than in 1998 to deal with them.26 In addition, while momentum to enact “Broader, Bolder Approaches” to education is growing, such initiatives are expanding slowly, still reaching too few students, and not gaining steam nearly as quickly as children, and our country, need them to.

Conclusion

All these interventions—at both the school and community levels—are critically needed, given significant and persistent early education gaps by social class. But even if these interventions were sufficient, integrated, and sustained over time, we?would still be?far from attaining the level and scale of supports that are demanded: this set of strategies represents, at best, a way to counter some of the consequences of the highly inequitable economic situation that U.S. policy choices have created over the past few decades. These community-level whole-child approaches would alleviate many disparities in opportunity and thus narrow achievement gaps. But closing those gaps in opportunity and achievement, which scholars and policymakers alike have long viewed as one of our education system’s primary goals, requires tackling the broader economic problems that drive these gaps.

Generating higher average incomes would be the most direct, and effective, way to eliminate the negative effects of low resources and inequality.27 Strategies that would increase incomes include enhanced federal social safety net policies that boost wages for vulnerable families, such as unemployment insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, the earned income tax credit (EITC), and the child and dependent care tax credit.28 Substantially raising the minimum wage would benefit a large number of children and a substantial fraction of single-parent homes.29 At the macroeconomic level, comprehensive government support for better employment options (including budgetary and monetary policies that boost employment), and for economic growth that is spread more broadly across the income distribution, would both reduce poverty and increase absolute mobility.30

In other words, there is only so much that even comprehensive, well-designed interventions at the school and community levels can do to counter a widening gulf in American society between haves and have-nots that leaves a shrinking number of families with incomes that are adequate to their needs. Ultimately, closing SES-based educational achievement gaps will require a much more honest assessment of where we’re at as a country, a vision for the kind of country we want to be, and a willingness to implement the major policy changes needed?to get there.

About the authors

Emma García is an education economist at the Economic Policy Institute, where she specializes in the economics of education and education policy. Her areas of research include analysis of the production of education, returns to education, program evaluation, international comparative education, human development, and cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis in education. Prior to joining EPI, García conducted research for the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education and other research centers at Teachers College, Columbia University, and did consulting work for the National Institute for Early Education Research, MDRC, and the Inter-American Development Bank. García has a Ph.D. in economics and education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Elaine Weiss was the national coordinator for the?Broader, Bolder Approach to Education?(BBA) from 2011 to 2017, in which capacity she?worked with four?co-chairs, a high-level task force, and multiple coalition partners to promote a comprehensive, evidence-based?set of policies to allow all children to thrive. Weiss came to BBA from the Pew Charitable Trusts, where?she served as project manager for Pew’s Partnership for America’s Economic Success campaign. Weiss was previously a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s task force?on child abuse and served as volunteer counsel for clients at the Washington Legal Clinic for the?Homeless. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the George Washington University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Appendix: Descriptions of 12 community-level whole-child education initiatives

Initiatives that serve part of a?school district

Austin, Texas

The needs of children in Austin Independent School District (AISD) schools with the highest concentrations of poor, immigrant, and non-English-speaking families are supported through a combination of parent-organizing (schools with parent-organizing programs, led by the nonprofit Austin Interfaith, form a network of “Alliance Schools”), intensive embedding of social and emotional learning (SEL) in all aspects of school policy and practice, and the transformation of schools into “community schools” (i.e., schools that are?hubs for the provision of academic, health, and social services).

Boston, Massachusetts

The City Connects program in Boston, Massachusetts, provides targeted academic, social, emotional, and health supports to every child in 20 of the city’s?schools with the highest shares of low-income, black, Hispanic, and immigrant students.

Durham, North Carolina

The East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) concentrates services and supports for children and their families living in a 120-block, heavily distressed area of concentrated poverty and high crime within the city.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) is a Promise Neighborhood, a designation awarded by the U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods program to some of the most distressed neighborhoods in the nation. Through the program, children and families who live in the 13-by-18-block NAZ receive individualized supports.

New York, New York

Through a collaboration between The Children’s Aid Society and the New York City Department of Education, 16 community schools in some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in three of the city’s five boroughs provide wraparound health, nutrition, mental health, and other services to students along with enriching in-and-out-of-school experiences, amplified by extensive parental and community engagement.

Orange County, Florida

The Tangelo Park Program (TPP) provides cradle-to-college support for all children residing in Orlando’s high-poverty, heavily African American Tangelo Park neighborhood.

Initiatives that serve an entire?school district

Joplin, Missouri

Joplin’s Bright Futures initiative (which has spawned dozens of other Bright Futures affiliate districts under a Bright Futures USA umbrella since it launched in 2010) has a rapid response component that addresses children’s basic needs (within 24 hours of a need being reported), while strong school–community partnerships help meet students’ longer-term needs. Bright Futures also provides meaningful service learning opportunities in every school.

Kalamazoo, Michigan

The “Kalamazoo Promise,” a guarantee by a group of anonymous local philanthropists to provide full college scholarships in perpetuity for graduates of the district’s public high schools, brought Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), the city, and the community together to develop a set of comprehensive supports that enable more students to use the scholarships.

Montgomery County, Maryland

All students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) benefit from zoning laws that advance integration and strong union–district collaboration on an enriching, equity-oriented curriculum. These efforts are bolstered by extra funding and wraparound supports for high-needs schools and communities.

Pea Ridge, Arkansas

The Pea Ridge School District, a small suburban–rural district outside Fayetteville, Arkansas, is among the newer affiliates of Bright Futures USA, a national umbrella group that grew out of Bright Futures Joplin. As a Bright Futures affiliate, Pea Ridge is making good progress toward identifying and meeting students’ basic needs, engaging the community to meet longer-term needs, and making service learning a core component of school policy and practice.

Vancouver, Washington

Family and Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) currently serve 16 of the highest-needs Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) district schools, with mobile and lighter-touch support in other schools and plans to expand districtwide by 2020.

Initiative that serves multiple?school districts

Eastern (Appalachian) Kentucky

A federal Promise Neighborhood grant helps Berea College’s Partners for Education provide intensive supports for students and their families in?four counties in the Eastern (Appalachian) region of Kentucky and provide lighter-touch supports in an additional 23 surrounding counties. (Berea College, which was established in 1855 by abolitionist education advocates, is unique among U.S. higher-education institutions. It admits only economically disadvantaged, academically promising students, most of whom are the first in their families to obtain postsecondary education, and it charges no tuition, so every student admitted can afford to enroll and graduates debt-free.)

Endnotes

1. Economic Policy Institute, Inequality.is [interactive website], 2013; Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder, Stock Market Headwinds Meant Less Generous Year for Some CEOs, Economic Policy Institute, 2016; Emmanuel Saez, Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2015 Preliminary Estimates), University of California Department of Economics, 2016.

2. Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca, and Jimmy Narang, “The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility since 1940,” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper no. 22910, 2016. Other research has found that there is less social mobility in the United States than in other developed countries; see Lawrence Mishel, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz, The State of Working America, 12th Edition, An Economic Policy Institute Book (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 2012).

3. Robert Putnam, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis?(New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015); Diane Schanzenbach, Megan Mumford, Ryan Nunn, and Lauren Bauer, Money Lightens the Load, The Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution, 2016; Silvia Stringhini et al., “Socioeconomic Status and the 25×25 Risk Factors as Determinants of Premature Mortality: A Multicohort Study and Meta-Analysis of 1.7 Million Men and Women,” The Lancet, March 25, 2017 (published online January 31, 2017).

4. See, among others, G.J. Duncan, P.A. Morris, and C. Rodrigues, “Does Money Really Matter? Estimating Impacts of Family Income on Young Children’s Achievement with Data from Random-Assignment Experiments,”?Developmental Psychology?vol. 47, no. 5, 1263–79; Emma García and Elaine Weiss, Early Education Gaps by Social Class and Race Start U.S. Children Out on Unequal Footing: A Summary of the Major Findings in Inequalities at the Starting Gate, Economic Policy Institute, 2015; Emma García, Inequalities at the Starting Gate: Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Gaps between 2010–2011 Kindergarten Classmates, Economic Policy Institute, 2015; Lawrence Mishel, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz, The State of Working America, 12th Edition, An Economic Policy Institute Book (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 2012); and Robert Putnam, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis?(New York: Simon and Schuster, 2015).

5. Gregory J. Duncan and Richard Murnane, “Introduction: The American Dream, Then and Now,” in Whither Opportunity: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances, Greg J. Duncan and Richard Murnane, eds. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2011); Frances L. Van Voorhis, Michelle Maier, Joyce L. Epstein, and Chrishana M. Lloyd, The Impact of Family Involvement on the Education of Children Ages 3 to 8: A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills, MDRC, 2013; Sean F. Reardon, “The Widening Academic Achievement Gap between the Rich and the Poor: New Evidence and Possible Explanations,” in Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances, Greg J. Duncan and Richard Murnane, eds. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2011), 91–116; Leila Morsy and Richard Rothstein, Parents’ Non-Standard Work Schedules Make Adequate Childrearing Difficult: Reforming Labor Market Practices Can Improve Children’s Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes, Economic Policy Institute, 2015.

6. See references in Emma García and Elaine Weiss, Making Whole-Child Education the Norm: How Research and Policy Initiatives Can Make Social and Emotional Skills a Focal Point of Children’s Education, Economic Policy Institute, 2016.

7. The differences are 1.17 and 1.25 standard deviations, respectively, or 0.94 and 0.91 standard deviations after controlling for clustered data. Clustering takes into account the fact that children are not randomly distributed but tend to be concentrated in schools or classrooms with children of the same race, social class, etc.

8. While the social and emotional skill levels as measured by teachers are similar to the social and emotional skill?levels as measured by parents, how teachers assess the skills likely differs from how parents do. Teachers likely evaluate their students’ skill levels relative to those of other children they teach. Parents, on the other hand, may be basing their expectations on family, community, culture, or other factors. In 2010, children in the high-SES quintile scored 0.4 and 0.5 standard deviations higher in self-control and approaches to learning as reported by teachers than children in the low-SES quintile. Using parents’ assessments of the same skills, the gaps are 0.4 and 0.6 standard deviations, respectively.

9. Richard Rothstein, Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap?(Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute; New York: Columbia Univ. Teachers College, 2004).

10. It is also possible that increased quality in the programs that low-SES children attended improved their readiness. These data, however, which are from the National Institute of Early Education Research State of Preschool?yearbook and pages for each of the states, suggest that increases in quality took place in a small subset of states and did not serve enough poor children to substantially influence these data. See Steven Barnett et al.,?The State of Preschool 2016, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, Newark, N.J., 2017.

11. ?For the link between children’s health and school readiness, see U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education,?Policy Statement to Support the Alignment of Health and Early Learning Systems?(2016); Janet Currie, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development,” Journal of Economic Literature vol. 47, no. 1 (2009), 87–122;?AAP Council on Community Pediatrics, “Poverty and Child Health in the United States,” Pediatrics vol. 137, no. 4 (2016). pii: e20160339.

12. It also had less of a negative effect on children’s self-control in 2010 than it had earlier. Note that the pre-K measure is a crude one—it records only whether a child attended a center-based program but says nothing about the program’s size or quality, or about the teacher’s qualifications—so positive impacts of high-quality programs are probably underestimated here, while some negative impacts of poor-quality programs may be muted.

13. For the sources of the facts regarding the eight case studies that were published at the time of this paper’s release, see “BBA Case Studies” on the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education website. For the sources of the facts regarding those case studies that were not yet published (Austin, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Tangelo Park in Orlando, Florida), see Emma García and Elaine Weiss, Education Inequalities?at the School Starting Gate: Gaps, Trends, and Strategies to Address Them, Economic Policy Institute and the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, 2017. The Broader, Bolder Approach to Education (BBA) is a national campaign that employs poverty-mitigation strategies grounded in community engagement to level the educational playing field and ensure meaningful opportunities for all children to thrive. See boldapproach.org.

14. Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald, “Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return,” The Region vol. 17, no. 4 (2003), 6–12; Ajay Chaudry, Taryn Morrissey, Christina Weiland, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality, Russell Sage Foundation, 2017.

15. Healthy Kids. Successful Students. Better Communities, a presentation published online by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, draws on dozens of sources to present a comprehensive picture of the threats to academic success posed by lack of strong health and the many ways that healthy eating, exercising, and other activities that promote child well-being drive success in school.

16. T.K. Peterson, ed., Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. (Washington, D.C.: Collaborative Communications Group, 2013).

17. See, e.g., Shelia Smalley and Maria Reyes-Blanes, “Reaching Out to African American Parents in an Urban Community: A Community-University Partnership,” Urban Education vol. 36, no. 4 (September 2001).

18. Elaine Weiss, “City Connects (Boston, MA)” [case study], Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, February 17, 2016.

19. This is the fundamental premise of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: that until basic or foundational needs—for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and nurturing—are met, higher-order needs, such as the need for complex learning, remain out of reach. This idea?is borne out by research by Richard Rothstein and many other scholars of health, poverty, and neuroscience, among others. See Richard Rothstein, Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Achievement Gap?(Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute; New York: Columbia Univ. Teachers College, 2004).

20. In recent years, a growing number of reports have emerged that?some charter schools—which are technically public schools and often tout their successes in serving disadvantaged students—keep out students unlikely to succeed through complex application processes, fees, parent participation contracts, and other mechanisms, and then further winnow the student body of such students by pushing them out when they prove to be academically or behaviorally challenging.?For more on this topic, see “In Reforming New Orleans, have Charter Schools Left Some Students Out?”—a 2015 PBS NewsHour investigation of charter schools that refuse entry to hard-to-teach students and suspend high shares of those they admit; Network for Public Education executive director Carol Burris’ article on Arizona’s BASIS school chain, “What the Public Isn’t Told About High-Performing Charter Schools in Arizona” (published on The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog, March 30, 2017); and Stephanie Simon’s national assessment for Reuters, “Class Struggle—How Charter Schools Get Students They Want,” February 15, 2013.

21. See School Turnaround: A Pocket Guide, American Institutes for Research, 2011. The models, in order of severity (from lightest to most stringent), are termed “transformation,” “turnaround,” “restart,” and “closure” (see page 3).

22. Sarah D. Sparks, “Billions in School Improvement Spending but Not Much Student Improvement,” EdWeek, January 19, 2017.

23. Evidence of steadily increasing income inequality and the severity of the Great Recession can be found in “Overview: Policy-Driven Inequality Blocks Living-Standards Growth for Low- and Middle-Income Americans,” in The State of Working America, 12th edition, An Economic Policy Institute Book (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 2012); Economic Policy Institute, Inequality.is [interactive website], 2013; Emmanuel Saez, Striking It Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2015 Preliminary Estimates), 2016.

24. Steven Barnett et al., The State of Preschool 2016?(Newark, N.J.: National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, 2017). See, in particular, the executive summary beginning on page 6.

25. Josh Bivens et al., It’s Time for an Ambitious National Investment in America’s Children, Economic Policy Institute, 2016. See, in particular, the section titled “The Status Quo of American Child Care and Policies to Help.”

26. Emma García and Elaine Weiss, Early Education Gaps by Social Class and Race Start U.S. Children Out on Unequal Footing: A Summary of the Major Findings in Inequalities at the Starting Gate, Economic Policy Institute, 2015.

27. Research shows that for children living in the lowest-income households, increasing their parents’ incomes to above the federal poverty line during their formative early years had lasting educational and other benefits. See Gregory J. Duncan, Katherine A. Magnuson, and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, “Boosting Family Income to Promote Child Development,” Future Child vol. 24, no. 1 (2014), 99–120.

28. Extensive research has demonstrated that these programs help ensure that children do not suffer the effects of poverty. See, for example, Danilo Trisi, “Safety Net Cut Poverty Nearly in Half Last Year, New Census Data Show,” Off the Charts (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities blog), October 16, 2014; and Sarah Steinberg, The Safety Net Is Good Economic Policy, Center for American Progress, 2014. In fact, Economic Policy Institute studies find that the EITC alone lifts more people out of poverty than any other single government program except for Social Security; see Josh Bivens et al., It’s Time for an Ambitious National Investment in America’s Children,?Economic Policy Institute, 2016; and Thomas Hungerford and Rebecca Thiess, The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit: History, Purpose, Goals, and Effectiveness, Economic Policy Institute, 2013.

29. Raising the minimum wage to $15 in 2024 would benefit nearly one-quarter of U.S. children (19 million have at least one parent who would get a raise). See Economic Policy Institute, How Raising the Minimum Wage to $15 by 2024 Will Benefit Women [fact sheet], May 25, 2017.

30. See Raj Chetty et al., The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility since 1940, NBER Working Paper no. 22910, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016; and Economic Policy Institute, The Agenda to Raise America’s Pay, last updated December 6, 2016.


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