The Effects of Public Quality Ratings on Parents’ Early Childhood Program Preferences

This quasi-experimental study evaluates how public quality ratings influence parental preferences for Early Childhood Education programs. Using data from 2016 to 2020 on New Orleans’ centralized enrollment system, the authors examine parents’ ranked preferences before and after quality ratings were made easily accessible. Their findings show that pre-K parents' preferences shifted slightly towards higher-rated programs once ratings became public, but the results suggest that they rely more on the rating of the attached elementary school. The study reveals the varying impact of ECE quality ratings and the significant impact of elementary school ratings on ECE program selection, underscoring the importance of access to quality information in supporting informed parental decisions. This study was conducted by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans.

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