Fifty Years of the Child-Parent Center Education Program in Chicago and Beyond

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 5:15pm

In a recent symposium presentation at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) conference in Chicago on November 4, 2017, 50 years of the CPC program was described with a focus on future directions. The session was chaired by Arthur Reynolds (Professor, University of Minnesota) and Lisa Heiskell-Topkins (CPC Manager, Chicago Public Schools).

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Child-Parent Center (CPC) Education Program. In the earliest use of federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I dollars for early childhood, the Child-Parent Center (CPC) program opened in 1967 within the Chicago Public Schools to offer expanded preschool services to children in the highest poverty neighborhoods. Kindergarten through 3rd grade services were added the next year. The combination of a high-quality preschool, a strong parent involvement emphasis, and an integrated curriculum and small class sizes through the early years of elementary school has been served as the model for what is now called PreK-3rd or PK-3 programs and alignment efforts.

One important objective of the extended and coherent PK-3 educational interventions is to sustain early learning gains. In recent years, researchers studying the Child-Parent Centers were the recipients of a federal I3 Investing in Innovation grant to expand CPC programs into other Midwest cities, including Saint Paul (MN), Evanston (IL), and Normal (IL, McLean County). Also in recent years, the demonstrated success of the CPC program has caught the attention of social entrepreneurs who believe that this early childhood program not only is effective but has the potential to save local governments and school districts more money than it costs. In 2015, a major expansion of the Chicago CPC program was funded by Goldman Sachs, the Pritzker Family Foundation, and Northern Trust Bank as the third Pay for Success social impact financing initiative funded within the U.S.

The following presentations were made:

Arthur Reynolds: PDF icon CPC history, evidence, and scaling

Child Parent Center Historical Context

Child-Parent Center Interviews on Intergenerational and Continuity

Benefits of full-day preschool

Lisa Heiskell-Tompkins: PDF icon Current state of Chicago CPC program

Judy Temple (University of Minnesota): PDF icon Pay for Success in CPC and other education initiatives

Barbara Bowman (Erikson Institute): PDF icon Curriculum alignment and commentary on PreK-3