Start with Equity Arizona: Expanding Access, Improving Quality, Advancing Equity

Arizona's young children deserve access to fair, high-quality early learning experiences in the years before kindergarten. A well established research base has shown that high quality early care and learning opportunities are associated with an array of short and long-term outcomes across education, health, earnings, and employment. Unfortunately, the early care and education landscape in Arizona has lacked sustained investment over the past two decades, at a time when other states have increased investments in young children. In addition to a lack of sustained funding, subpar policies have impacted both access to and quality of care for Arizona's youngest. The impacts of these systemic shortfalls impact children from historically marginalized communities most, including Latino/a children, Black children, Indigenous children, children in rural communities, children in low-income households, and immigrant children, among others.    

In its new report, Start with Equity – Arizona (SWE-AZ), the CEP deeply examines Arizona’s early learning systems, with an emphasis on how those systems have attended to— or failed to attend to—the needs of Arizona’s children, particularly those from historically and contemporarily marginalized communities. We review the data, research, and policy landscapes in the state across 10 domains, and provide a set of actionable recommendations across state government that have the potential to transform the early learning landscape, bridge opportunity gaps, and positively impact the lives of Arizona's children and families for years to come. 

This report builds from the 2020 report published by the Children’s Equity Project in partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center, Start with Equity: From the Early Years to the Early Grades, which takes a national look at the scope of inequities in the early care and learning system. 

Suggested citation:

Meek, S.E., Alexander, B.L., Bucher, E., Soto-Boykin, X., Catherine, E., Palomino, C., Ameley-Quaye, A. (November, 2023). Start with Equity Arizona: Increasing Access, Improving Quality, and Advancing Equity in Arizona’s Early Care and Learning Systems. The Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University. Retrieved from:

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