Peg Burchinal: Early Childcare and Pre-K Programs

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
5pm reception, 5:30pm talk

CERAS Learning Hall, Stanford

Margaret (Peg) Burchinal is a Senior Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Research Professor in Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is an Associate Editor for Child Development and Early Childhood Research Quarterly, a panel reviewer for the Institute for Educational Sciences at the US Department of Education, a member of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Special Emphasis Review Committee, and serves on Advisory Boards for many national and local child care projects. She recently served on the National Research Council’s committee that studied assessing children during early childhood. Burchinal studies how the quality of childcare may be especially important in reducing racial and economic gaps at entry to school. She is the principal investigator for one project which seeks to identify risk and protective factors in academic development for African American children, and another which investigates the feasibility and utility of integrated qualitative and quantitative analyses.


Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base for Preschool Education

Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christina Weiland, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Margaret R. Burchinal, Linda M. Espinosa, William T. Gormley, Jens Ludwig, Katherine A. Magnuson, Deborah Phillips, Martha J. Zaslow, 2013

One of the primary goals of the Obama Administration’s Preschool for All proposal is to increase access to high-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs for four-year-olds in the United States. At present, 78 percent of U.S. four-year-olds attend preschool (defined as a center-based early education setting). However, there is a large disparity between enrollment in the lower three income quintiles of the nation (poor and lower-middle-class families) and the top two quintiles (upper-middle and upper-class families). One-third of the fomer are not enrolled in preschool, compared to just over 10% of the latter.. The President’s proposal has sparked considerable and healthy debate about the merits of preschool education. However, in some of these debates, the most recent evidence has not yet been included for consideration. The goal of this brief is to provide a non-partisan and thorough review of the current science and evidence base of early childhood education that includes the most recent research. Our group of early childhood experts reviewed rigorous evidence on why early skills matter, the short- and long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s school readiness and life outcomes, the importance of program quality, which children benefit from preschool (including evidence on children from different family income backgrounds), and the costs versus benefits of preschool education. We focus on preschool (early childhood education) for four-year-olds, with some review of the evidence for three-year-olds when relevant. We do not discuss evidence concerning other elements of the proposal, such as programs for 0 – 3 year olds.