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How Investing in Early Childhood Education Could Help School Districts Save Big

December 4, 2017
David Lowenberg
Education Writers Association

The evidence base for early childhood education expanded last month with the release of two reports that, together, analyze the outcomes of more than 100 early childhood interventions.

The reports, from the Rand Corporation and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), find short- and long-term benefits for children and families, and identify potential cost-savings for schools and government.

In their review of existing research on dozens of early childhood interventions — from home visiting programs to Head Start and public pre-K — the analyses represent the latest in a growing body of evidence demonstrating the promise of interventions during children’s first five years.

The studies come at a time when policymakers and advocates are increasingly turning to children’s earliest years to address the achievement gaps that have long plagued the U.S. education system. In recent years, in states red and blue, funding for early childhood education has been on the rise. Yet, key questions remain — including whether early education programs produce benefits and cost-savings that persist over time.