Madison School District’s 4K Program Boosting Opportunity for Minority, Low-Income Youngsters
October 9, 2017
The Madison Education Partnership (MEP), a joint research project between WCER and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), recently released a report on the state of 4-year-old-kindergarten programs in the district. The findings were recently featured in the Wisconsin State Journal.
New research shows the Madison School District’s 4-year-old-kindergarten program is enrolling a greater share of minority and low-income children, potentially boosting opportunity for historically disadvantaged youths as more 4K participants overall go on to district kindergarten.
But there’s room for improvement as well, as about 20 percent of Madison public schools’ 4K graduates still attend kindergarten in a different district.
“The substantial number of students who participate in 4K but move on thereafter may represent a sizable loss in district enrollment worth addressing,” said the report from the Madison Education Partnership, a joint research practice between the district and UW-Madison School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research.
Over the program’s start, from 2012-13 to 2016-17, the district’s overall 4K participation rate has risen from 67 percent to 72 percent of the district’s entering kindergartners, and is 5 to 10 percentage points higher among African-American and Latino students, low-income students and students who are English language learners.
“That shows they’re doing a good job of reaching out to kids from diverse backgrounds,” said Eric Grodsky, a UW-Madison associate professor and co-director of the research partnership.