Commitment to Equitable Access

With an abundance of evidence that high-quality universal preschool could reduce the disparities in skills among sub-groups of children at kindergarten entry, Durham’s policymakers are focusing considerable resources on the development and expansion of quality preschool programs for four year olds. Durham has made historic local investments in preschool services in order to open access more broadly for children.

  • there are six low-income preschool children in Durham for every one currently publicly funded preschool space in NC Pre-K, Durham Public Schools (DPS) and Head Start
  • over a quarter of Durham census tracts with more than 50 low-income preschoolers have no publicly funded preschool slots
  • 92% of Durham parents (n=2000) who completed a random survey in 2018, rated cost-free preschool as desirable or essential.

We know that children from lower-income households are often left behind, furthering inequality and setting the stage for the achievement gap that persists through high school. A critical component of this ambitious initiative in Durham is the implementation of preschool classrooms across diverse settings. Expanding services in both the public schools and in community-based programs is the key to success.

The goals of Durham PreK are to:

  • Improve Classroom Instruction
  • Support Family Engagement
  • Build Capacity for High Quality

To read more about the state of Durham County’s young children, task force recommendations for preschool expansion in Durham County and Durham County’s Preschool Supply and Demand Study, please view the reports below.