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Pre-K and Charter Schools: Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration

National Alliance

High quality charter schools and pre-K programs have shown tremendous potential to change the educational and life trajectories of low-income students. In combination, they could do even more to improve the odds for our nation’s most vulnerable youngsters. But current policy and practice in many states limit the ability of charter schools to offer state-funded pre-K programs.

Even though most states use a variety of providers to offer pre-K—including public schools, Head Start programs, community-based child care centers, and for-profit and faith-based preschools—charter schools are often not among them.

In this report, the National Alliance teamed up with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to analyze state pre-K and charter statutes, regulations, and agency policies in the 36 jurisdictions that had both charter schools and state-funded pre-K programs at the start of the 2014–15 school year. This comprehensive study points to state policies that create restrictions for collaboration between charter schools and pre-K, and also offers policy recommendations at the federal and state levels to improve the climate for high-quality charter schools to offer pre-K.


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