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Segregated from the Start -- Comparing Segregation in Early Childhood and K-12 Education

Emily Peiffer, Urban Institute


In addition to experiences in the home and in the community, early childhood education is a key place for addressing—or exacerbating—issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Most research has focused on the benefits of integration in elementary and secondary schools, even though schools have become more segregated. But segregation in early childhood programs is even more pronounced than in K–12 classrooms, and that separation can lead to missed opportunities for contact and kinship during a critical point in child development. This report describes racial and ethnic segregation across early childhood education settings in the U.S. serving five or more children, including home-based and unregulated providers.

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