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Research on economic benefits and costs of quality preK programs and facilities

Economics and Finance

In Pursuit of Pre-K Parity


April 2017
Marcy Whitbook, Ph.D. and Caitlin McLean, Ph.D.

A Proposed Framework for Understanding and Advancing Policy and Perspective  More than half of all state-funded pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs now require lead teachers to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher, as do many city-funded pre-K programs, yet salaries and benefits for pre-K teachers are consistently lower than the average salary for public school elementary school…

Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State-Funded Pre-K Programs


April 2017
W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D. and Richard Kasmin

Although the phrase compensation parity policy for preschool teachers may seem clear at first, the term is used in a variety of ways and refers to a range of different policies. All of these policies seek to improve the financial rewards for teaching preschool relative to teaching older children, but they differ in how far…

Brookings Institution: The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects


April 2017

The question of how the U.S. will develop a citizenry with the skills necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century has attracted the attention of legislators, scientists, and educators. Answering this question leads inevitably to its roots: how well are we preparing young children to enter kindergarten ready to learn? Educators in k-12…

Public Pre-K Financial Landscape


September 2016
Richard Kasmin

The view of preschool as welfare influences the way preschool education is financed and helps explain why the US doesn’t offer every child a quality preschool education. Preschool funding is much more heavily dependent on a patchwork of federal programs — a tradition more reflective of social insurance programs than public education, which is primarily…

Implementing 15 Essential Elements for High Quality: A State and Local Policy Scan


July 2016
W. Steven Barnett, G.G. Weisenfeld, Kirsty Clarke Brown, Jim Squires, and Michelle Horowitz

In this report we explore the extent to which 41 states, the District of Columbia, and three large cities support high-quality state-funded preschool education. The framework for our assessment of state capacity is provided by “15 essential elements” of high-quality pre-K. These can be categorized into three clusters: enabling environment, rigorous policies, and strong practices….

Expanding Access to Quality Pre-K is Sound Public Policy


December 2013

In 2013, preschool education received more attention in the media and public policy circles than it has for some time, in part because of a series of high-profile proposals to expand access to quality pre-K.  The scientific basis for these proposed expansions of quality pre-K is impressive.  This paper brings to bear the full weight…

Getting the Facts Right on Pre-K and the President’s Pre-K Proposal


February 2013
W. Steven Barnett

This policy report clears up some common misconceptions about preschool's effectiveness and benefits, particularly in regards to the Obama administration's recent fact sheet on investing in early education.

Investing in Early Childhood Education: A Global Perspective


November 2012
W. Steven Barnett and Milagros Nores

NIEER Director Steve Barnett presented the key note address at an international conference on “Early Childhood: Secure Childhood. Promising Future” at Princess Nora University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  His presentation and paper, jointly authored with NIEER Assistant Research Professor Milagros Nores, was titled Investing in Early Childhood Education: A Global Perspective.

Preschool Education as an Educational Reform: Issues of Effectiveness and Access


September 2011
W. Steven Barnett

In this paper for the National Research Council and U.S. Equity and Excellence Commission, NIEER Director Steve Barnett looks at studies that provide rigorous estimates of the effects of some large scale, state-funded pre-K programs – both targeted and universal.  Using available data on preschool access in the United States, Dr. Barnett also provides estimates on pre-K enrollment by family income and the costs of providing educationally effective pre-K programs to all children.

Policy Brief – Improving Public Financing For Early Learning Programs


April 2011

This brief reviews sources and models of public financing of early care and education and makes recommendations for improving upon what currently exists so as to remove barriers to increasing program access and quality.