Universal Access to Quality Early Childhood Education

Opportunity youth are nine times more likely to drop out of school than their peers, but evidence shows that early childhood education is one of the earliest and most effective interventions to increase the likelihood of high school graduation. Unfortunately, the prohibitive cost of private preschool programs makes them inaccessible to many low-income families—disproportionately Black, Latinx, and Native—and publicly funded options, such as Head Start, receive insufficient funding to meet the resulting need.

To safeguard the health of children and prevent youth disconnection, the federal government can commit to making early childhood education universally accessible and strengthen access to two-generation programs supporting full families.


Congress can:

  1. Establish a universal pre-K program to provide states with funding to support high-quality early childhood education for all children 3–4 years old and high-quality training for all teachers and teaching assistants.

The Department of Education can:

  1. Incentivize states to invest funding in two-generation programs that combine early childhood education, family-based interventions, and workforce development opportunities for low-income and immigrant parents, caregivers, and their children.