Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Government

Advisor

Chris Howard

Committee Member

Paul Manna

Committee Member

Jamel Donnor

Abstract

Early intervention through quality preschool has been shown to be effective in closing education opportunity gaps and setting disadvantaged kids on a level playing field with their wealthier peers, especially in terms of social and emotional growth. Because preschool has such positive effects, it is crucial to find out which children attend preschool and to examine the quality and duration of the programs they attend. There are many studies showing correlations between income, race, or parental education and preschool attendance, but few get at the causal mechanism behind these relationships and the programs’ quality. To fill this gap, my research explores the question, “Why do parents choose high- or low-quality preschool programs for their children?” I access this information by surveying parents, asking about their reasoning for their preschool choices and their research processes. My goal in conducting this research is to obtain useful data that will enable me to make concrete recommendations about how to increase the number of children who attend quality preschool. Understanding why parents do or do not send their children to high-quality preschool will help policymakers target the problem, be it cost or other logistics.

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