Over the past five years, New Jersey's Abbott district preschool program has made remarkable progress. Sparked by the New Jersey Supreme Court's landmark 1998 decision in the Abbott v. Burke court case, the state has developed a whole new system of pedagogy focused on 3- and 4-year-olds – one that enhances school reform efforts and the ability for children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. Targeting 30 urban communities, the Abbott program is striving to provide the poorest school districts with the same educational opportunities as their peers in more affluent districts. In NIEER's special report, Public Preschool in New Jersey is One Roadmap to Quality, author Betty Holcomb discusses how to create high-quality public preschool in disadvantaged settings and analyzes several essential factors.
As Holcomb points out, challenges lie ahead as New Jersey seeks to move forward with quality preschool. Not least among them is reaching the remaining children who are eligible yet not enrolled in a program. That said, there is no denying that New Jersey's progress lays out one "roadmap to quality."
Benefit-Cost Analysis, Child Development, Program Models, National Context