Policy feedback and preschool funding in the American States

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18 Scopus citations


The early childhood education policy community has been described as a " divided constituency" in which groups with the same underlying goals sometimes work at cross purposes. This article examines how this internal division affects the contemporary funding of preschool education. It finds that states with a relatively large Head Start community are significantly more likely not to fund preschool education and significantly less likely to dedicate preschool funding exclusively to a freestanding state program. These results suggest that the creation and political solidification of Head Start generated policy feedback. They contributed to an ongoing tension within the early education community as Head Start beneficiaries viewed the creation of a freestanding preschool program as a political threat. This political dynamic illustrates the more general way in which the existence of a public policy can alter the dynamics of future political action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Head Start
  • Interest groups
  • Policy feedback
  • Preschool education
  • State politics


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