Why Isn’t Johnny in Preschool?

In 2006-2008, low-income African American and Latina mothers and grandmothers, members of the citywide organizing group POWER-PAC (Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew – Policy Action Council), went door-to-door in 19 low- and moderate-income communities and interviewed over 5,000 parents and caregivers to find out why participation in early childhood education programs is so low.

In their research they found 40 to 64 percent of preschool-aged children were not enrolled in preschool or Head Start. Even though Illinois is a nationwide leader in creating high quality early education programs and guaranteeing access for low-income children, alarming numbers of eligible children in Chicago are not enrolled in preschool. “Why isn’t Johnny in Preschool?”, a report produced by POWER-PAC, sheds light on the question of why so many preschool-eligible children are not enrolled and presents recommendations for policy and practice changes to address these barriers.

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