An early-childhood-education program in Maryland is helping to narrow the school readiness gap between disadvantaged children and their middle-class peers, says a state education department report.
By the end of kindergarten, poor children who took part in the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program, which serves children from birth through age 5, did not initially appear to perform any better than children who did not receive the services. But when the researchers examined the assessments of particular high-risk groups, such as children with limited English proficiency and those with special needs, they found they were doing as well as or better than children who were ineligible for the program.
Named for the late wife of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., who supervised early-childhood programs in the Prince George’s County school district, the program offers early education, family support, and health services in 24 “Judy centers” statewide.
The study, conducted by MGT of America, a research and consulting group in Tallahassee, Fla., also found that the program had improved access to early-childhood education and that almost all the centers had met state requirements that they become accredited.
Read the results of the report.