Early Childhood Education

Data Snapshot: Early Childhood Education

Written by:

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Education

Issue Brief No. 2 (March 2014)
For other data snapshots in the series, visit the CRDC at: http://ocrdata.ed.gov
INSIDE THIS SNAPSHOT: Early Childhood Education Highlights

·         Public preschool access not yet a reality for much of the nation: About 40% of school districts do not offer preschool programs.

·         Part-day preschool is offered more often than full-day: 57% of school districts that operate public preschool programs offer only part-day preschool.

·         Limited universal access to preschool: Just over half of the school districts that operate public preschool programs explicitly make such programs available to all students within the district.

·         Kindergarten retention disparities: Native-Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Native-Alaskan kindergarten students are held back a year at nearly twice the rate of white kindergarten students. Boys represent 61% of kindergarteners retained.

·         Suspension of preschool children (new for 2011–12 collection): Black children make up 18% of preschool enrollment, but 48% of preschool children suspended more than once. Boys receive more than three out of four out-of-school preschool suspensions.

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights 1
Civil Rights Data Collection: Data Snapshot (Early Childhood)
March 21, 2014

Early Childhood Education

A child’s early education, including preschool and elementary school, sets the foundation for his or her future success. The 2011–12 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) collected early-childhood-education-related data such as preschool access and discipline, as well as student retention, in elementary school. For the CRDC, “preschool” means a program operated by a public school for children younger than kindergarten age, including early childhood programs or services. The CRDC does not include data on private preschool programs.

School districts with public preschool programs

While one million children are served in public preschool programs nationwide, 40% of districts report that they do not operate public preschool programs for children within their district.

Image: Percent of school districts operating public preschool programs – 40% Not offering preschool, 60% Offering preschool.]

Image: Percent of school districts operating public preschool programs – 40% Not offering preschool, 60% Offering preschool.]

NOTE: Figure reflects public preschool programs operated by, or on behalf of, public school districts. The CRDC does not collect information related to the quality of public preschool programs. Figure represents 16,503 school districts.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12

Part-day vs. full-day preschool

Of the nearly 10,000 school districts offering preschool programs, 30% offer full-day preschool only, 57% offer part-day preschool only, and 13% offer both full-day and part-day programs.

[Image: School districts offering full-day and part-day preschool. 30% Full-day only, 57% Part-day only, 13% Part-day and full-day.]

NOTE: Figure represents 9,939 school districts that reported operating preschool programs.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12.

Preschool eligibility criteria

Over half (55%) school districts operating public preschool programs explicitly make them available to all children in the district. An additional 25% of school districts target preschool programs to children from low-income families — which means that 80% of all of school districts make preschool available to all students or specifically target children from low-income families. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of school districts target preschool programs to children with disabilities; 13% target children in Title I schools; and 16% target children on some other basis (e.g., at-risk or other special need).

[Image: Eligibility criteria for district preschool programs, by student groups. Children with disabilities (IDEA) – 39% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children. Children from low income families – 25% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children. Children in Title I schools – 13% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children. Other – 16% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children.]

[Image: Eligibility criteria for district preschool programs, by student groups. Children with disabilities (IDEA) – 39% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children. Children from low income families – 25% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children. Children in Title I schools – 13% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children. Other – 16% Additional Programs with targeted eligibility. 55% Programs serving all children.]

NOTE: Figure represents 9,939 school districts that reported operating preschool programs. School districts could select eligibility for all children or any combination of the remaining choices.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12.

Preschool discipline

Racial disparities in discipline begin in the earliest years of schooling. Black students represent 18% of preschool enrollment, but 42% of preschool students suspended once, and 48% of students suspended more than once.

[Image: Preschool students receiving suspensions, by race and ethnicity. Enrollment – 43% White, 4% Two or more races, 29% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 18% Black/African American, 1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 4% Asian, 2% American Indian/Alaska Native. Out-of-school suspension (single) – 26% White, 3% Two or more races, 25% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 42% Black/African American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 1% Asian, 1% American Indian/Alaska Native. Out-of-school suspensions (multiple) – 26% White, 4% Two or more races, 20% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 48% Black/African American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 1% Asian, 0.1% American Indian/Alaska Native.]

[Image: Preschool students receiving suspensions, by race and ethnicity. Enrollment – 43% White, 4% Two or more races, 29% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 18% Black/African American, 1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 4% Asian, 2% American Indian/Alaska Native. Out-of-school suspension (single) – 26% White, 3% Two or more races, 25% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 42% Black/African American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 1% Asian, 1% American Indian/Alaska Native. Out-of-school suspensions (multiple) – 26% White, 4% Two or more races, 20% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 48% Black/African American, 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 1% Asian, 0.1% American Indian/Alaska Native.]

NOTE: Preschool suspensions were collected for the first time in the 2011–12 CRDC. Detail may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Figure represents 99% of schools with preschool students enrolled. It also represents over 1 million preschool students, nearly 5,000 students suspended once, and over 2,500 students suspended more than once.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12.

While boys represent 54% of the preschool population, they represent 79% of preschool children suspended once and 82% of preschool children suspended multiple times. Girls who are black, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander represent a larger percentage (30% or more) of out-of-school suspensions within their racial or ethnic group than girls within other racial or ethnic groups.

CRDC data suggest that our nation’s preschools are not disproportionately suspending preschool students with disabilities or English learners. Students with disabilities (students served by IDEA) represent 22% of preschool enrollment, 19% of the students suspended once, and 17% of the students suspended more than once.

[Image: Preschool Enrollment – 22% IDEA, 78% Non-IDEA. Out-of-school suspension (single) 19% IDEA, 81% Non-IDEA. Out-of-school suspension (multiple) – 17% IDEA, 83% Non-IDEA.]

[Image: Preschool Enrollment – 22% IDEA, 78% Non-IDEA. Out-of-school suspension (single) 19% IDEA, 81% Non-IDEA. Out-of-school suspension (multiple) – 17% IDEA, 83% Non-IDEA.]

NOTE: Preschool suspensions were collected for the first time in the 2011–12 CRDC. Detail may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Figure represents 99% of schools with preschool students enrolled.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12.

English learners (i.e., Limited English Proficient or “LEP” children) represent 12% of preschool children, 11% of students suspended once, and 9% of preschool students suspended more than once.

[Image: Preschool Enrollment – 12% LEP, 88% Non-LEP. Out-of-school suspension (single) – 11% LEP, 89% Non-LEP. Out-of-school suspension (multiple) – 9% LEP, 91% Non-LEP.]

[Image: Preschool Enrollment – 12% LEP, 88% Non-LEP. Out-of-school suspension (single) – 11% LEP, 89% Non-LEP. Out-of-school suspension (multiple) – 9% LEP, 91% Non-LEP.]

NOTE: Preschool suspensions were collected for the first time in the 2011–12 CRDC. Detail may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
Figure represents 99% of schools with preschool students enrolled.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12.

Kindergarten retention

More than 140,000 kindergarten students nationwide were held back a year in 2011–12, representing about 4% of all kindergarten students in public schools. Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Native Alaskan students are held back a year at nearly twice the rate of white children.

[Image: Percent of kindergarten students retained, by race and ethnicity. Kindergarten students – 4% All kindergarten students, 7% American Indian/Alaska Native, 2% Asian, 8% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 5% Black/African American, 4% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 5% Two or more races, 4% White.]

[Image: Percent of kindergarten students retained, by race and ethnicity. Kindergarten students – 4% All kindergarten students, 7% American Indian/Alaska Native, 2% Asian, 8% Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 5% Black/African American, 4% Hispanic/Latino of any race, 5% Two or more races, 4% White.]

NOTE: Data in this figure represent 98.5% of schools in the CRDC universe that were matched to the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data grade-level enrollment data. Approximately 3.5 million kindergarten students are represented, including 39,000 students who are American Indian/Alaska Native; 150,000 students who are Asian; and 14,000 students who are Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12; the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data, “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey,” 2011–12.

Boys represent 52% of kindergarten students and 61% of the kindergarten students retained. For each race or ethnicity, more boys are retained in kindergarten than girls. Ten percent (10%) of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander boys are retained in kindergarten.

Elementary school retention, by disability and English learner status

More than 450,000 elementary school students were held back a year in 2011–12, representing about 2% of all elementary school students. Nationwide, students with disabilities served by IDEA represent 14% of students enrolled and 17% of students retained in elementary schools. English learners represent 14% of students enrolled and 18% of students retained in elementary schools.

[Image: Elementary school retention, by IDEA status. Enrolled in elementary school (K-6) – 14% Children with disabilities (IDEA), 86% Children without disabilities. Retained in elementary school (K-6) – 17% Children with disabilities (IDEA), 83% Children without disabilities.

[Image: Elementary school retention, by IDEA status. Enrolled in elementary school (K-6) – 14% Children with disabilities (IDEA), 86% Children without disabilities. Retained in elementary school (K-6) – 17% Children with disabilities (IDEA), 83% Children without disabilities.

[Image: Elementary school retention, by LEP status. Enrolled in elementary school (K-6) – 14% LEP students, 86% Non-LEP Students. Retained in elementary school (K-6) – 18% LEP Students, 82% Non-LEP students.]

[Image: Elementary school retention, by LEP status. Enrolled in elementary school (K-6) – 14% LEP students, 86% Non-LEP Students. Retained in elementary school (K-6) – 18% LEP Students, 82% Non-LEP students.]

NOTE: Figures represent 99% of the elementary schools in the CRDC; reflecting 22 million elementary school students and the 450,000 elementary school students retained. Elementary school is defined as schools with the highest grade of 6.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2011–12.

Early Childhood Education: State-By-State

Preschool Access

·         States with the highest percentage of school districts operating preschool programs: Hawaii (100%), 1 Tennessee (98%), West Virginia (98%), Oklahoma (96%), and Kentucky (94%)

·         States with the lowest percentage of school districts operating preschool programs: Oregon (14%), Wyoming (15%), Pennsylvania (16%), Montana (22%), and Arizona (29%)

·         States (and D.C.) with the highest percentage of school districts offering full-day preschool programs only: Arkansas (97%), District of Columbia (97%), Louisiana (95%), North Carolina (91%), and Georgia (83%)

·         States with the lowest percentage of school districts offering full-day preschool programs only or both full-day and part-day preschool programs: Oregon (0% for full-day; 11% for both), Idaho (4% for full-day; 4% for both), Alaska (6% for full-day; 9% for both), Nevada (7% for full-day; 7% for both), and Illinois (7% for full-day; 8% for both)

·         States with the highest percentage of public preschool children with disabilities: Nevada (84%), Delaware (66%), Idaho (59%), Montana (54%), and Oregon (52%)

·         States with the highest percentage of public preschool English learners: Texas (36%), Illinois (19%), Florida (18%), California (15%), and Oregon (15%)

Kindergarten Retention

·         States with the highest kindergarten retention rates include: Arkansas (12%); Hawaii (12%)1; and Mississippi (8%)

·         States with the greatest gap between two different student racial/ethnic groups in kindergarten retention rates: District of Columbia (32 percentage point gap between American Indian/Alaska Native students and their white peers); Wyoming (29 percentage point gap between Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students and their white peers); Maryland (25 percentage point gap between Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students and their white peers); and North Dakota (23 percentage point gap between Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students and their white peers)

For more information on the percent of school districts operating preschool programs, by type of program and state: 2011–12 please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-early-learning-snapshot.pdf pages 8-9

For more information on the number of preschool children enrolled in district-operated public preschool programs, by disability (IDEA) and English learner (LEP) status and state: 2011–12 please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-early-learning-snapshot.pdf pages 10 and 11

For more information on the percent of kindergarten students retained, by race and ethnicity and state: 2011–12 please visit http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-early-learning-snapshot.pdf pages 12 and 13

Data Notes and Methodology

Schools and Districts

The CRDC has generally been collected biennially from school districts in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. The 2011–12 CRDC included all public schools and public school districts in the nation that serve students for at least 50% of the school day. The CRDC also includes long-term secure juvenile justice agencies, schools for the blind and deaf, and alternative schools. The response rate for this large national collection was 98.4% of school districts and 99.2% of schools, representing 99.6 % of students in the nation.

Race and Ethnicity

For the 2011–12 CRDC, school districts reported data using the seven race and ethnicity categories (i.e., Hispanic/Latino, white, black/African American, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Two or More Races). For more information on the Department’s 2007 guidance regarding race and ethnicity categories, please visit: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/rschstat/guid/raceethnicity/index.html.

Privacy Protection and Data Rounding

To ensure the protection of privacy while meeting the purposes of the CRDC, OCR conducted the analysis presented in this document on the privacy protected CRDC data. The CRDC data are privacy protected by rounding student counts in groups of three to prevent the disclosure of individual student information. For example, student counts from 1-3 are rounded to two, student counts from 4-6 are rounded to five.
In previous years, OCR has rounded CRDC data to the nearest five. However, in collaboration with the Department’s Disclosure Review Board, OCR implemented a new rounding method for the 2011–12 CRDC to reveal true zeroes where possible and minimize the distortion of rounding. In general, for the 2011–12 CRDC data, the distortion of rounding one student to two would be balanced by the rounding down of three students to two. However, this new privacy protection method may inflate total counts for CRDC data elements in which there are prevalent cases of schools reporting only one student (e.g., one student retained is rounded to two students retained).

Limitations of CRDC Data

OCR strives to ensure CRDC data are an accurate and comprehensive depiction of student access to educational opportunities in school districts. The submission system includes a series of embedded edit checks to ensure significant data errors are corrected before the district submits its data. Additionally, each district is required to certify the accuracy of its submission. Only a district superintendent, or the superintendent’s designee, may certify the CRDC submission. Ultimately, the quality of the CRDC data depends on accurate collection and reporting by the participating districts.

After reviewing the data, OCR is aware that inconsistencies may still remain in the data file. Users should be aware that outliers in the dataset may be a function of districts misreporting data. For example, outliers in the data on single-sex classes may be reporting the number of students enrolled in single-sex classes rather than the number of single-sex classes. In the analysis provided in this report, some schools and districts with potential reporting errors were excluded from the analysis. The number of schools included can be found in the notes section below each figure.

Early Childhood Education

CRDC Definitions:

Note: The 2011–12 CRDC survey used the term “prekindergarten,” defined in a manner to be consistent with the common understanding of the term “preschool”; within this document, OCR has substituted “preschool” for “prekindergarten.”

·         Preschool/Prekindergarten: Preschool is a program for children younger than kindergarten age. For the purposes of the CRDC, preschool includes early childhood or preschool programs or services.

·         Full-day Preschool/Prekindergarten: A full-day preschool program is a program in which a child attends school each weekday for approximately six hours or more.

·         Preschool/Prekindergarten Out-of-School Suspension: Preschool out-of-school suspension is an instance in which a preschool child is temporarily removed from his/her regular school for disciplinary purposes to another setting (e.g., home, behavior center). For children with disabilities, this includes both removals in which no individualized education plan (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP) services are provided because the removal is 10 days or less, as well as removals in which the child continues to receive services according to his/her IEP or IFSP.

Percent of School Districts Operating Preschool/Prekindergarten Programs:

The CRDC collects information about whether a school district operates a preschool program. This does not include private preschool programs or preschool program not run by, or on behalf of, the school district. Additionally, some school districts are organized by elementary and secondary schools. Therefore, OCR would not expect all school districts to offer preschool programs.

Preschool/Prekindergarten Program Daily Length:

The CRDC collects information on the daily length of preschool programs operated by the school district. Some school districts offer both part-day and full-day preschool programs. A few school districts were excluded from this analysis due to possible reporting errors, such as reporting preschool programs but no students enrolled in those programs, or mistakenly reporting not operating a preschool program but also reporting offering a part-day preschool program.

Preschool/Prekindergarten Eligibility:

The CRDC collects information on whether the preschool services are provided to all children within the district or targeted groups of children. Of the preschool programs operated by school districts, 55% of those programs provided services to all children in the districts. The remaining 45% of the programs offered services to one or more groups of children.

Preschool/Prekindergarten Discipline:

The 2011–12 CRDC was the first ever collection of preschool suspension and expulsion data. Over 8,000 preschool students were reported as suspended at least once, out of more than 1 million preschool students enrolled. Because these data were collected for the first time, users should exercise caution when analyzing the data. Some schools reporting zeroes may have been unable to report complete suspension data. Additionally, a few schools reported more preschool students suspended than enrolled and were excluded from the analysis (1%). Finally, while the 2011–12 CRDC collected data on preschool expulsions, the national aggregate number is approximately 220. Since only a small number of schools reported preschool expulsions, this data is not included in this snapshot.

Kindergarten Retention:

This analysis combines data from multiple sources. Approximately 98.5% of CRDC schools were matched to schools in the Common Core of Data (CCD). The CCD provides a rich set of grade-level enrollments that are not collected by the CRDC. A few schools reported offering kindergarten on the CRDC, but reported no kindergarten student enrollments on the CCD. These schools were excluded from the analysis. Additionally, a small number of schools reported retaining more kindergarten students on the CRDC than what was reported for kindergarten student enrollments on the CCD. These schools were also removed from the analysis.

Elementary Retention:

The retention analysis for elementary schools compares the enrollment in elementary schools to the students retained in grades K-6. Elementary school was defined as the highest grade of 6. There were over 48,000 elementary schools meeting this criterion in the CRDC. A small number of schools reported retaining more elementary students enrolled than retained. These schools were removed from the analysis.+

For more information about the CRDC, please visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/data.html.