History and Funding of Data and Data Systems in Early Childhood
Education and early learning are important issues across the nation. Specifically, policymakers are focused on education reforms and reforms that aim to close the school-readiness and achievement gaps. We know from data and research that differences in children’s abilities appear as early as the first year of life, and research has shown that targeted interventions during early childhood can narrow the school-readiness gap.
With closing the gaps in mind, increased attention has been paid at the local, state, and federal levels to the systematic collection and use of data to improve outcomes for children and students from preschool through higher education. Some of this attention has come from federal and state funding sources to help states with the development and implementation of longitudinal data systems that are connected, coordinated, and focused on a range of age groups
“In April 2018, 50 states responded to an Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) survey to assess states’ capacity to link child-, family-, program-, and workforce-level data across ECE programs. Linking child-, family-, and program-level data means having the ability to follow individual children, programs, and staff across programs and over time. Data may be housed in different systems or within the same system. … National findings and recommendations from the 2018 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey are available in their final report, 2018 State of State Early Childhood Data Systems.”
 Early Childhood Data Collaborative. (2010). A framework for state policymakers: Building and using coordinated state early care and education data systems. Washington, DC: Author.