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Peer-reviewed policy briefs & in-depth policy analysis

Policy Briefs

Policy Report – Early Childhood Development and Social Mobility


October 1, 2006
OutcomesQuality and Curriculum

This policy report examines the effects of preschool education on social mobility in the United States.

By W. Steven Barnett and Clive R. Belfield NIEER Policy Report (October 2006)

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Summary This policy report examines the effects of preschool education on social mobility in the United States, noting that many current programs fail to enroll even half of low-income 3- and 4-year-olds or to improve learning and development, and explaining that intensive interventions, featuring highly qualified teachers and small class sizes, such as the model Abecedarian and Perry Preschool programs, are the most effective. The authors conclude that increased investment in preschool could raise social mobility. Increasing the educational effectiveness of early childhood programs as well as increasing participation rates would provide for greater gains in social mobility.