Quality Pre-K An Investment in Equality and Growth

W. Steven Barnett

Over the last 25 years, hundreds of studies have produced evidence of the impacts of early education on learning and development.  Many of these have found long-term impacts on outcomes that include: achievement test scores, rates of special education and repeating grades because of failure, completion of secondary school and post-secondary education.  Long-term effects have been found for social development including reductions in classroom behavior problems, delinquency, and crime.  These developmental results translate into very long improvements: increased employment and earnings, decreased dependence on public welfare, decreases in risky behaviors like teen pregnancy, smoking and drug use, and improved mental health.

These improvements in development and adult success have implications for public expenditures resulting in cost savings in education, social services, the criminal justice system, and health care.  Of course, it is not just the government cost savings that are important, but the improvements in the quality of life.

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