School Readiness and Transitions


Research has demonstrated that low-income students are nearly 20 months behind their high-income peers when entering kindergarten at age five. Gaps are also present for African-American and Latino children that range from six-11 months behind in reading and 11-13 months behind in math, respectively.

These gaps can be considered gaps in opportunity and often persist throughout their educational careers, creating the achievement gap. Increasing access to high-quality preschool has been shown to dramatically reverse these trends, and in some cases, completely close this gap at kindergarten entry. While preschool access is voluntary, it is linked to several enhanced educational outcomes.

This page is dedicated to understanding the importance of school readiness as it affects long-term achievement by highlighting preschool access, funding, length-of-day, transitions to kindergarten and issues related to social-emotional development leading to suspension and expulsion from prekindergarten programs in an effort to help policymakers understand the breadth and depth of this issue and its implications. For additional information, visit the Improving K-3 Quality webpage.  

2018 Legislative Examples
Minnesota S 1404 Failed Adds school readiness development to the requirements for programs receiving state child care funds.


S 246


Restricts the use of suspension and expulsion for pre-kindergarten through third grade students and promotes the use of SEL curricula. 

South Carolina

H 3591 Enacted Provides benchmarks for the first steps school readiness assessment and imposes certain requirements for reporting and use of the results of the assessment.


S 170


Prohibits students in preschool through third grade from being suspended or expelled except for federal offenses.


S 5155 Failed Concerns suspension and expulsion of kindergarten and early elementary school students.

Additional Resources

NCSL Resources

Other Resources