Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Everlasting Quest of Preschool for All: Maternal Choices and Enrollment Implications of Bilingual Pre-K

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 2:30 PM
Miami Lecture Hall (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Eric W. Chan, Columbia University
Previous experimental and rigorous research support the effectiveness of preschool in various contexts (e.g., Weiland & Yoshikawa, 2013; Gormley, Gayer, Phillips, & Dawson, 2005, Weikart, Bond, & McNeil, 1978; Schweinhart et al., 1993), yet there is limited evidence whether universal-type pre-K policies induce changes in enrollment (e.g., Fitzpatrick, 2010). While certain states have enacted universal pre-K policies, some have also considered “universal” bilingual pre-K mandates requiring schools to open up bilingual classrooms for children from non-English speaking families. The question of whether these policies on bilingual pre-K can induce enrollment and close achievement gaps between English language learners and English speakers is more important today than ever for the many urban cities and states experiencing large growth in immigrant populations, such as New York City and Texas. In this study, I exploit exogenous variation from the first bilingual prekindergarten mandate in Illinois to estimate the causal effects on preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply of recently immigrated and Hispanic families. Utilizing a difference-in-differences (DD) empirical strategy, estimates suggest significant effects on pre-K enrollment between 18-20 percent and no effects of increasing maternal labor supply. Using multiple DD specifications, estimates are robust to various control groups and timeframes.