School District & Local Community Policy

Aligning children’s experiences from birth through 3rd grade can help close the achievement gap

School district leaders trying to improve 3rd grade reading scores and high school graduation rates are increasingly implementing strategies that include early education. By engaging with early learning providers and raising the quality of early learning and elementary classes, districts are seeing immediate gains—and improvements which persist through later grades.


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The achievement gap between students living in poverty and those in higher socioeconomic environments can be seen in the first years of life. Schools are then forced to play catch-up from the very first day of kindergarten.

Research has shown that high-quality early education can improve school readiness and give children the social and emotional skills they need to succeed. By aligning children’s earliest learning experiences with the K–12 system, we can sustain and enhance gains made in the early years—and avoid costly interventions in later years.


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