Date of Award

Fall 11-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelly Hantak

Third Advisor

Dr. Steve Jenkins

Abstract

The researcher completed a quantitative comparative content analysis of early childhood developmental programs in high-poverty and low-poverty counties across the state of Missouri. The researcher discussed the importance of early childhood programs in the longevity of academic, professional success and long-term health benefits. Although lawmakers, educators, parents and policy makers emphasized the immense importance of early childhood education, the state of Missouri had not completed an evaluation of early childhood developmental programs for over 15 years. The last study (Fuger et al., 2003), completed in 2003, only evaluated early childhood programs described as part of the state’s Missouri Preschool Project (MPP). The research results stated the state of Missouri had not completed a study evaluating all early childhood programs in the state. The researcher examined secondary data, specifically licensing reports from online, public records through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) website, as well as programing costs, curriculum, and accreditation through brief interviews of administrators employed by various child care centers and public school early childhood preschool programs. The purpose of the study was to discover if inequity occurred in facilities located in high-poverty and low-poverty counties. The researcher explored whether high-poverty facilities had more licensing violations than those facilities in low-poverty areas and examined the type of violations and assessed differences in the number of violation types. After researching early childhood curriculum endorsed by the state of Missouri, the researcher examined the type of curriculums used by each facility to determine the quality of the curriculum. The iii researcher surveyed the cost differences of facilities and the affordability of programs, based on average income. The researcher also evaluated the overall quality of programs, based on the secondary data. In summary, the researcher conducted the study to examine differences between the quality of early learning and developmental programs in high and low poverty counties around the state of Missouri. The researcher determined the quality of a program based on the percentage of licensing violations, type of violations, curricula used, if a center held extra accreditation, and the cost per week. The results of the study were mixed.

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