October 26, 2021

Ready for Kindergarten, Ready for Life: The causes and consequences of Northern Virginia's preschool enrollment disparity

InsightRegion IPS3 cover MedRes copyNorthern Virginia's children at or near poverty have the second lowest rate of preschool enrollment in the country; just 29 percent of three-and four-year-olds in this income bracket are in school. It also has the largest gap in enrollment rates between these children and their counterparts in higher-income families.

High-quality preschool has the potential to narrow long-standing racial and economic opportunity gaps, provide crucial relief to Northern Virginia's working parents, and produce stunning long-term returns on investment. While all children benefit from the experience, children from families with limited economic means stand to benefit the most.

This brief explores how location, cost, and demand explain the region's low rate of preschool enrollment among its most financially vulnerable children and concludes with a series of recommendations. 
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