The region has demonstrably improved prekindergarten outreach to families with young children. Participation rates increased during 2014-2018 for all racial/ethnic groups with the exception of Asian/Pacific Islanders—and that group nonetheless had the highest rate of participation in 2018.
Achievement gaps, by income or race/ethnicity, are created before kindergarten and do not substantially widen or shrink thereafter. Eliminating gaps require early childhood interventions, and high-quality preschool is a critical intervention. Tulsa and Oklahoma are nationally recognized for their pre-kindergarten programming. A growing body of evidence suggests enrollees will be better prepared for kindergarten, will gain critical social skills, and will complete high school at higher rates.
Nearly 60 percent of the region’s kindergartners enter school ready to learn as measured by each district’s assessment and, among the 40 percent who are not ready, few make enough progress during kindergarten to catch up to grade level.
Kindergarten readiness measures underscores the extent to which achievement gaps start early in a child’s life, with large gaps by race, ethnicity, and income readily apparent. An important goal behind increasing enrollment in quality pre-kindergarten programs is to prepare students for their K-12 experience, closing part of these early gaps.