The Impact of Centralized Enrollment and Public Quality Ratings on Disadvantaged Families’ Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education
Lindsay Weixler

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Tulane University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs) have become a nearly universal approach to quality improvement in early childhood education (ECE). These efforts are necessary, as ECE program quality is both important for child outcomes and highly variable (Bassok et al., 2016; Yoshikawa et al., 2013). However, to date we know very little about the effectiveness of QRISs in improving parents’ access to high-quality ECE. This project will fill this gap by evaluating the effect of Louisiana’s recently updated ECE policy and QRIS on parents’ access to high-quality ECE in New Orleans.In 2012, Louisiana mandated that each locality centralize enrollment for all publicly funded programs and evaluate them using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). As a result, New Orleans families can now apply for up to eight programs in rank order using one application. Beginning in 2018, programs’ CLASS-based quality ratings will be listed on their profiles in the application system. I will examine (1) the impact of the centralized enrollment system on families’ access to publicly funded programs, and (2) the impact of public quality ratings on parents’ demand for high-quality programs. This study will be the first to analyze the effect of a state policy on families’ access to ECE and to use individual-level data to examine the effect of public quality ratings on parents’ ECE program decisions.
About Lindsay Weixler
Lindsay Bell Weixler is an Associate Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans (ERA-New Orleans). Lindsay’s research focuses on early childhood education and child and adolescent development in educational settings. After teaching in New Orleans public schools, Lindsay completed a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and master’s degree in statistics at the University of Michigan. Before joining the team at ERA-New Orleans, Lindsay was a Presidential Management Fellow in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education.

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