Working Paper: Kids Today

Full Title: Kids Today: Changes in School-Readiness in an Early Childhood Era.

Full Abstract: Public investment in early childhood education has expanded dramatically in recent years. Despite this investment, we have little empirical evidence on whether children today enter school with different skills than they did in the late nineties. Using two large, nationally representative datasets, this paper documents how students entering kindergarten in 2010 compare to those who entered in 1998 in terms of their teacher-reported math, literacy and behavioral skills. Our results indicate that students in the more recent cohort entered kindergarten substantially more proficient at both math and literacy skills. Increases in academic skills over this period were particularly pronounced among black children. Implications for policy are discussed.

EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series No. 35. December 2014.