Delaware Following Maryland’s Course to Early Childhood Success
Maryland has demonstrated how a focus on early childhood can yield significant, long-term gains for children. In the last decade, they have:
- Implemented full-day Kindergarten, which Delaware has almost completed;
- Increased the quality of existing early childhood programs, through efforts similar to the Delaware Stars program;
- Increased access to high-quality early childhood programs, which has been recommended by Delaware groups like Vision 2015 and the Early Childhood Council, among others; and
- Aligned programmatic and policy initiatives—and their funds—under a single department within the State Department of Education—rather than the three agencies in Delaware that oversee early childhood efforts and funds.
And for this, Maryland has much to show:
- 81 percent of students demonstrating readiness in academic, physical, and social skills;
- a 32 percentage point increase in Kindergarten readiness; and
- a narrowing gap of poor, special education, English Language Learner, and African-American students by 35-44 percentage points.
These accomplishments lead to better long-term outcomes, as longitudinal ECAP (state preschool) studies have shown; in Maryland, children who enter Kindergarten fully school-ready are far more likely to be proficient in both reading and math by third grade.
Delaware is on our way, and if we continue with the progress we are making, we hope to be able to report these gains, too.