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A Closer Look at Assumptions That Drive Variations in Estimating the Cost of Services

In this report, Lea Austin, Marcy Whitebook, and Harriet Dichter demonstrate how assumptions about what teachers need produce per child costs that vary by thousands of dollars.

Recognizing that estimates are important points of information – as they are often used to inform short- and long-term term decisions about early care and education services – the authors examined a set of cost models with regard to assumptions about resources for teachers and their working environments. These assumptions drive the per child and total systems estimates produced for budgetary purposes and ultimately frame the daily realities of early educators.