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Early Care and Education

A good beginning to participation in the education system is key to long-term success.


52% of kindergarteners in JCPS entered school “kindergarten ready.”

Research suggests that kids who attend preschool are more likely ready for kindergarten. When kids start kindergarten behind their peers they are likely to never catch up educationally. When a child enters school not ready for kindergarten, they are less successful throughout school, are more likely not to complete high school, and they have lower lifetime earnings than their peers who enter kindergarten ready for school. Increasing kindergarten readiness will likely decrease the achievement gap we see between kids living in poverty and their more affluent peers.

In 2014, just over half of all kindergarteners in Jefferson County Public Schools entered school “kindergarten ready.” This means that more than 47% entered not kindergarten ready. For students entering kindergarten in 2014, the percentage of kindergartners entering ready varied wildly, depending on the school, ranging from a low of 10.7% kindergarten ready, to a high of 90.6%. The percentage of free lunch within an elementary school in JCPS is highly negatively correlated with the percentage of kindergarten readiness. That is, the higher the percentage of free lunch recipients in a school, the lower the percentage of kids entering kindergarten ready (r = -.813, p < .000), replicating other research that shows that poverty is strongly linked to not being kindergarten ready.

Kindergarten Readiness




Source: Kentucky Department of Education. Available at http://openhouse.education.ky.gov/Data


49.3% of Jefferson County 3 and 4 year olds attended public or private preschool

Preschool attendance improves kindergarten readiness, and expanding access to preschool offers promise of improving kindergarten readiness for poor children. This suggests a need to expand public preschool subsidies to at least all who are eligible.

Percentage of 3  and 4 year olds enrolled in school


Source: 2013 ACS 3-year estimates


In 2013, 32% of births in Louisville were to women who had at least a bachelor’s degree.

In considering the C2C ecosystem, it is crucial to think of education and employment outcomes truly across the spectrum from cradle to career. Education and employment outcomes are influenced early in life, starting at birth. As our colleagues at 55,000 Degrees report, children of parents with a bachelor’s degree are much more likely than children whose parents have less education to be exposed to educationally enriching environments and cultural events, and they are significantly more likely to be school ready at kindergarten. (http://www.55000degrees.org/why-college/)

Women who gave birth in the past 12 months, % Bachelor’s +



Source: 2013 ACS, 1-year estimates


More than a quarter of kids currently live in families with incomes below the poverty line.

Poverty is a complicated phenomenon, with a number of affiliated factors that affect school readiness and academic achievement, but we know that children who grow up in impoverished households enter school educationally behind their more affluent peers. Nationally, many children grow up in poverty.

Under 18 years, % Below Poverty Level


Source: 2013 ACS 3-year estimates


2013 ACS, 1-year estimates; 2013 ACS 3-year estimates; 2013 ACS 3-year estimates; 2013 ACS 3-year estimates; 2013 ACS 3-year estimates; Kentucky Department of Education. Available at http://openhouse.education.ky.gov/Data; http://www.jefferson.k12.ky.us/Departments/AcctResPlan/databook/index.html; Author calculation, based on JCPS data