Racial Equity in Durham's Early Childhood System

As a Board, the investment in Durham PreK is one of the most important investments that we are making in our County. The relationship of accessible, high-quality pre-K to equity at the child and system levels is why this investment is so critical. The funding we provide for Durham PreK is a direct investment in a more equitable child care system and in more equitable futures for young children in our County.

Read the full statement here.

Commitment to Equity

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 low-income and poor 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.

View these statistics and more in the Durham County Preschool Supply and Demand Study and Executive Summary.

Local Organizations

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UPDATE: The Durham PreK Governance Committee voted on August 19, 2021 to waive parent fees for the 2021-2022 school year. The Durham PreK Application is still open! Click here to access the application information and materials.