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Building and Using Coordinated State Early Care and Education Data Systems

Abstract

State policymakers are increasingly focused on closing the achievement gap and preparing all students to succeed in school and in life. However, college and career readiness begins long before students enter high school or even a classroom.

Although states may provide a variety of early childhood programs and interventions, they are often administered independently of each other and are not well coordinated. The result is that information on children's early care and education (ECE) experiences before kindergarten is siloed and uncoordinated, making it difficult for policymakers to target resources. In fact, policymakers often struggle to obtain answers to basic questions about their states public ECE systems, such as how many children currently participate in high-quality ECE programs? How many more could benefit if they had access? What are the qualifications of the workforce in quality ECE programs, and where are these program sites?

In consultation with an early childhood data advisory group, and with feedback from early childhood stakeholder groups, the Early Childhood Data Collaborative has developed a framework that:

  • articulates principles for developing state ECE data systems that enable continuous improvement and answer states' critical policy questions;

  • identifies the 10 ECE Fundamentals that provide the foundation for coordinated ECE data systems;

  • and provides guidance to state policymakers to ensure appropriate data access and use while protecting privacy and keeping data secure.

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