New York City Universal Pre-K (UPK) Study

Two UPK children smiling at each otherAs early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs have expanded across the country, policymakers are trying to build coherent ECEC systems that promote quality, equity, and efficiency. A challenge to implementing such efforts is that ECEC services are often overseen by diverse ministries, departments and/or agencies, such as those with responsibility for education, human service, community development, welfare, and/or social services. This lack of administrative cohesion often translates into services for youngsters that may be of less than optimal quality, inequitably distributed among children, and inefficiently operated. Causing confusion for families, policymakers, and practitioners, such uncoordinated governance is facing increased challenges as programs for young children expand under divergent auspices. Long concerned about such inhibitors to quality, the NCCF has conducted an empirical study of one such mixed-delivery system in New York City, where an ambitious policy initiative, Pre-K for All, has confronted the persistent challenges posed by a bifurcated administrative structure. The results of the analyses and their policy implications can inform policymakers across the country who are striving to create equitable, effective, and efficient ECEC systems.

Report and Appendices

Policy Briefs


This research was made possible by the New York City Early Childhood Research Network, a unique partnership of researchers from the city’s higher education institutions who work with the New York City Department of EducationNew York City Administration for Children’s ServicesNew York City Department of Health and Mental HygieneMayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, and the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute to study the implementation of New York City’s universal preschool program and use the knowledge gained to improve instruction and outcomes for all children. This research was funded by the Foundation for Child Development. The New York City Early Childhood Research Network is a project of theNew York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at the City University of New York and is funded by Early Childhood Partners NYCFoundation for Child DevelopmentHeising-Simons Foundation and the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation.