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Quality Early Learning

Children with access to quality early learning opportunities are more prepared for kindergarten. They have increased vocabulary, better language, math and social skills, and more positive relationships with classmates. And as they go forward in school and life, they are less likely to need special education services or be held back a grade and are more likely to graduate and go on to college.

In fact, multiple studies show that quality pre-K programs generate a return on investment of seven (7) to ten (10) dollars for every dollar invested. The benefits to communities include decreased use of welfare and social services, remedial education, and job re-training.

Quality Early Learning is defined as the percentage of Arizona 3- and 4-year old children that are in high-quality preschool settings as determined by Read on Arizona.


ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy is the data steward for the Education Progress Meter. Data for these indicators was compiled and reviewed for validity.

Data sources and methodology for each of the Education Progress Meter metrics are listed below, with a brief introduction followed by a more in-depth description of the process for producing the final numbers. This is followed by a description of Census Bureau data and a brief look at potential issues with sample-based data.

Quality Early Learning

The percent of Arizona 3- and 4-year old children that are in high-quality preschool settings.


  • First Things First, 2016-17
  • Arizona Department of Education, 2016-17
  • Arizona Department of Economic Security, 2016-17
  • 2016 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 1-year estimates Table B09001

Included in this number

Children age three or four years who are enrolled in an early learning setting that meets at least one of these conditions:

  • Quality First program with 3, 4, or 5-star rating
  • Head Start programs
  • Programs participating in the Preschool Development Grant
  • National accreditation from one of the following organizations:
    • National Association for the Education of Young Children
    • American Montessori Society
    • Association for Christian Schools International
    • National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs
    • National Early Childhood Program Accreditation

Not included in this number

Those outside the age range and those not in preschools not meeting the above criteria.

In Brief

Morrison Institute for Public Policy has not directly reviewed this data.

Detailed Methodology

Morrison Institute for Public Policy has not directly reviewed this data.
Read on Arizona pulled from a data request from the data sources. These data sources for enrollment of preschool were identified and confirmed to use a high standard of enrollment verification and common definition of enrollment. The final data set was reviewed for duplicate counts by Data Integration Task Force and data sharing partners.



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