State policymakers are increasingly focused on closing the achievement gap and preparing all students to succeed in school and in life. However, college and career readiness begins long before students enter high school or even a classroom. Differences in children’s abilities appear as early as the first year of life, and research has shown that targeted interventions during the early childhood years can narrow the "school readiness gap."
By ensuring that data are accessible and stakeholders have the capacity to use data appropriately, coordinated state early care and education (ECE) data systems will promote data-driven decisionmaking to improve the quality of ECE programs and the workforce, increase access to high-quality ECE programs, and ultimately improve child outcomes.
States are beginning to make progress toward implementing and using coordinated ECE data systems, and the federal government is supporting state efforts. States must act now to leverage current investments to build and use coordinated state ECE data systems for continuous improvement.
Transforming data systems so that they are improvement driven, coordinated and longitudinal lays the groundwork for coordinated state ECE data systems. The 10 ECE Fundamentals provide the foundation for answering the critical questions that policymakers seek to answer.
To fully realize the potential of coordinated state ECE data systems, state policymakers need to establish policies, practices and structures that ensure appropriate access and help stakeholders use data effectively to guide decisionmaking.