Participation during the first four years of Tennessee’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program

Report cover for Participation during the first four years of Tennessee’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program

Publication Date: September 2011

Overview: This study examines the first four years of Tennessee’s Voluntary Prekindergarten program (2005/06 through 2008/09), directed to 4-year-olds eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. State funding began at $35 million and increased each year. It reviews participation levels and trends for the program as a whole, for collaborative partner classrooms (e.g., Head Start, for-profit child care), and for student and district subgroups and discusses the geographic distribution of program sites. The study finds that the number of children in the program almost tripled, and the proportion of eligible children participating more than doubled. Participation levels and rates increase among all subgroups examined, but the rate of increase varies across student and district subgroups (e.g., special education, district locale). The findings from this study could be useful to states seeking to expand their pre-K program capacity.

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