Quality early childhood education is an essential building block of academic success. This is especially true for children in low-income families and children learning two languages, who stand to gain the most from these programs. But current funding levels for public prekindergarten (pre-K) and other accessible options are not sufficient. One promising new model for funding is pay for success (PFS). PFS focuses on improving outcomes and measuring the impact of change. Legacy Early College, or Legacy, in Greenville, South Carolina, began in January 2016 to explore the feasibility of using a PFS approach to fund their early childhood education program. The Urban Institute partnered with Legacy to develop an evaluation design and support the feasibility study. This brief discusses challenges and lessons learned from that process.
This brief was updated on May 21, 2019, to correct the name of one of Legacy’s partners. The organization is the Institute for Child Success, not the Institute for Child Services.