Child Care Choices and Academic Outcomes: The Moderating Role of Sociodemographic Structure
Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Research clearly shows that early childhood ecologies characterized by sociodemographic risk are a strong predictor of academic achievement and lasting adversity. Formal early child care settings, such as stable center-based care, can serve to mitigate early life disadvantage, yet access to stable center-based care, and the academic consequences therein, are not equally distributed throughout the population. Integrating longitudinal data from the Texas subsample of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) with administrative school records from the Texas Education Research Center (ERC), this novel dataset allows for an examination of long-term outcomes linked to early childhood adversity and surrounding ecologies that is not accessible through survey or administrative data alone. Addressing current gaps in the literature, this study empirically tests the relationship between child care type and stability and children’s mid- and long-term academic gains in consideration of differential treatment effects across latent subgroups of sociodemographic risk. Results indicate population heterogeneity across indicators of school readiness, as well as math and reading achievement scores in grades three and eight. This innovative research approach applied to a unique dataset spanning over two decades has important implications for targeting interventions to children and families who may benefit most.