New Brief Summarizes Academic and Fiscal Benefits of Universal Preschool

Contact: 

William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/a3kh6ps

 

BOULDER, CO (November 13, 2012) – Policymakers should heed the sound research evidence supporting the expansion of high-quality preschool opportunities, according to the third in a series of two- and three-page briefs summarizing key findings in education policy research.

The brief is authored by Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

There is near-universal agreement among researchers “that high-quality preschool programs more than pay for themselves in economic and social benefits,” Mathis writes. Indeed, high-quality preschool for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap. Such preschool participation is also associated with a wide range of more positive adult outcomes, including less drug use, less welfare dependency, higher graduation rates, higher college attendance, and higher employment.

Despite these demonstrated outcomes and the increase in children attending pre-school, “in inflation adjusted dollars, overall funding per child served is lower than a decade ago,” Mathis writes. For preschool to reap its proven substantial benefits, lawmakers must assure that the programs are of high quality and are adequately supported.

The brief explains the key elements of a quality pre-school program. It also discusses research findings concerning basic issues such as the entrance age for preschool, comparisons of center-based and home-based programs, and whether preschool should be universal or targeted by socioeconomic group.

 

The three-page brief is part of Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.

The brief is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/options

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This brief is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/