State Preschool in a Mixed Delivery System: Lessons From Five States
Karin Garver, G. G. Weisenfeld, Lori Connors-Tadros, Katherine Hodges, Hanna Melnick, and Sara Plasencia; Learning Policy Institute
Most U.S. states operate their public preschool programs in a mixed delivery system, in which public preschool and child care are offered through a variety of settings, including local education agencies (LEAs) as well as non-LEA settings, such as Head Start agencies, community-based child care centers, private schools, and family child care homes. A mixed delivery system has many benefits, including adding valuable capacity to serve children; providing families with choice in the environment they prefer for their children; and supporting small businesses. There are several challenges to operating a mixed delivery system, however, such as coordinating and supporting the participation of preschool providers across settings, from large LEAs to small private providers.
To inform state preschool administrators and policymakers as they refine their mixed delivery systems, this report describes the mixed delivery systems of five states that have taken different approaches to supporting providers across settings. All five states meet at least 7 of the National Institute for Early Education Research’s 10 quality benchmarks, indicating that they have many policies to support quality preschool.