ABC Shrinks Gap in Kindergarten Readiness

for Economically Disadvantaged Students

One of the most persistent challenges for education is the achievement gap between sub-groups of children. When comparing test scores for children living in different socio-economic situations, those children living in more affluent circumstances consistently score better than children living in poverty. The Arkansas Commission on Closing the Achievement Gap and Act 33 of the General Assembly’s Second Extraordinary Session of 2003 identifies narrowing the achievement gap among economically disadvantaged students as one of its priorities (Report of the Arkansas GAP Commission 2006). Additionally, the federal Equity and Excellence Commission has been charged with studying the disparities that lead to the achievement gap and ways in which federal policies can address such disparities. Its report was released in February 2013 and asserts that “[u]niversal access to high-quality early learning programs must be a matter of the highest national priority, with a special priority for children in our poorest communities.” The Arkansas Better Chance early childhood education program reduces the kindergarten readiness gap between students from different economic circumstances.

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