Journal Article

The Promise of Preschool

Why We Need Early Education for All

By Barnett, W. S., & Frede, E. C. (2010).

It’s fairly well known that high-quality preschool programs can have life-altering impacts on disadvantaged children, including reductions in school dropout and crime, and increased earnings. Not as well known is that terrific preschool programs have important academic and social benefits for middle-class children too. Decades of research indicate that if high-quality preschool were offered to all children, the benefits would far outweigh the costs. In this article, the authors discuss the key characteristics of high-quality preschool education to all children. They call for replacing the nation’s patchwork of predominately poor and mediocre programs with preschool education that is part of every state’s system of public education. They argue that the targeted approach of the early childhood policy in the United States is fundamentally unsound and should be changed in favor of public preschool for all.

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The Authors

W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.

In her work, Dr. Frede applies what she has learned throughout her varied career in early childhood education, including experience as a teacher of ages 0-8, curriculum and professional development specialist at the HighScope Foundation, teacher educator at The College of New Jersey, researcher, pre-k administrator for the New Jersey Department of Education, education lead in a large Head Start grantee and early learning lead at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.