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A Locational Analysis of Pre-Kindergarten Centers and Homes in Dallas-Fort Worth

Authors: Malia Wing*, Texas Christian University
Topics: Economic Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: education, GIS, students, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This project examines the relationship between access to quality pre-kindergarten programs and locational and demographic characteristics of the community. Students who attend quality pre-kindergarten programs require fewer special education services and are less likely to repeat grades. Educational outcomes, such as high school graduation rates, vary significantly around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Access to quality pre-kindergarten – which sets students up for success throughout their educational careers – is one potential explanatory factor for the spatial variation in educational outcomes. Understanding the current spatial distribution of these high-quality programs will allow municipalities to identify low-access areas and work to provide every child with a quality pre-kindergarten education. Using GIS software, locational characteristics such as daytime employment and median household income were analyzed in order to determine the locational characteristics of different types of child-care operations. The analysis shows that in areas where fewer workers commute away from the home, there is a higher concentration of residential child-care operations (as opposed to larger child-care centers). Additionally, in areas with lower median household incomes, there are higher concentrations of child-care operations that accept subsidies, suggesting that low-income families still have access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education. Finally, the locations of public schools offering free pre-kindergarten programs were analyzed to show that public options are available to help meet the need of pre-kindergarten aged children in the region.

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