Title

Public Prekindergarten: An Implementation Model for Public Schools In States That Do Not Fund Prekindergarten

Date of Award

5-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership

Abstract

The purpose of this comparative case study was to develop a prekindergarten implementation model for public school districts located in states without state-funded prekindergarten. The two public school districts selected for the study were located in a rural Midwestern state and differed on the presence or absence of a prekindergarten program within their school settings. This study utilized qualitative case study methods to identify (a) factors that supported and impeded voluntary initiation, implementation, and continuation of a prekindergarten within two public school settings; (b) the role of key stakeholders; and (c) the effects resulting from the implementation or lack of implementation of a prekindergarten.

After analyzing data obtained from interviews, parent surveys, and school-related documents, the findings were then compared and contrasted to change process models. In the absence of state funding or guidance, this study found that a school district was more likely to initiate a prekindergarten to prepare children for the rigorous kindergarten curriculum and the increased accountability standards resulting from the No Child Left Behind Act. Secondly, the willingness of a school administrator to take on added responsibility for developing and gathering support for a prekindergarten contributed to its successful implementation. Finally, successful implementation and broad based support from school administration, teachers, parents, and community members contributed to the prekindergarten's successful continuation. The study participants from both school districts agreed that lack of state funding or guidance greatly hindered the successful implementation and continuation of a prekindergarten program. The factors identified in this study provide a set of recommendations for school districts implementing prekindergarten programs in states that do not fund prekindergarten. These recommendations may guide state legislators from those states in the formation of sound policy related to the implementation of high quality prekindergarten programs.

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