October 22, 2014
Drawing on a sample of Latino American children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth cohort (ECLS-B), this paper uses propensity score matching to examine the relation between care arrangements the year before kindergarten and math and literacy outcomes, in English, at kindergarten entry. Care arrangements included: Head Start (federally-funded center-based care for young children from low-income families), pre-kindergarten (state-funded center-based care), other-center care, parental care, and other-home care (care provided in a home, by relatives other than a parent or non-relatives). For literacy, results revealed that (1) Latino children in center-based care (Head Start, pre-kindergarten, and other-center) scored higher than Latino children in other-home care and (2) Latino children in Head Start (but not pre-kindergarten or other-center) scored higher than Latino children in parental care. For math, Latino children in other-center care outperformed Latino children in other-home care and Head Start. No significant differences emerged among Head Start, pre-kindergarten, or other-center for math or literacy outcomes. Follow-up analyses indicate that quality of care helps to explain the significant differences. Policy implications are discussed.