The Impact of Early Childhood Education in North Dakota: Non-cognitive Skills
There is significant policy interest in extending early childhood education in the US, but important gaps remain in our knowledge of the likely impact of such expansions. The North Dakota state legislature recently passed a bill authorizing a series of block-grants that will be released over the next 4 years to improve subsidized early childhood education (ECE) in the state. Our project proposes to partner with the state to evaluate these programs. The state has agreed to require childcare providers who receive these grants to randomize admissions offers among families that choose to apply. The state has also indicated a willingness to experiment with other aspects of program design including outreach intensity, class size and curricular choice. We anticipate being able to access state level administrative data for evaluation purposes, including records from the public school system, public program utilization (e.g. medicaid, SNAP), and the unemployment insurance system. We also plan to directly collect data on the non-cognitive outcomes of children at the endline, which is a key outcome the literature has not previously examined. This gives us a unique opportunity to answer questions about the optimal design of ECE and to better understand the mechanisms through which ECE may benefit children in the short and long run.