A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education

The results of this study show racial/ethnic and economic disparities in preschool enrollment and in the quality of preschool that children experience. Among families who do enroll in preschool, the study finds that most children attend classrooms that are homogenous in family income, and often in race/ethnicity as well. The result is a segregated system in which low-income and minority children often attend low-quality and non-diverse early-childhood programs. The authors discuss researching findings on why the socioeconomic and racial/ethnic composition of early childhood classrooms is important and provide a number of suggestions for steps that can be taken to increase diversity.