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Benefits of Preschool Education. W. Steven Barnett, Director National Institute for Early Education Research Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey For further information go to our website: Preschool’s Benefits. Increased Achievement Test Scores

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benefits of preschool education
Benefits of Preschool Education

W. Steven Barnett, Director

National Institute for Early Education Research

Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey

For further information go to our website:

preschool s benefits
Preschool’s Benefits
  • Increased Achievement Test Scores
  • Improved Behavior and Attitudes
  • Decreased Grade Retention
  • Decreased Special Education
  • Decreased Crime & Delinquency
  • Increased High School Graduation
three exemplary studies
Three Exemplary Studies

High/Scope Perry Preschool– a half-day program on a small scale in the Ypsilanti, MI public schools

True Experiment, n=123, follow-up to age 27

Abecedarian educational child care– a full-day year-round program in Chapel Hill, NC

True Experiment, n=111, follow-up to age 21

Chicago-Child Parent Centers (CPC)– a half-day program on a large scale in the Chicago public schools

Quasi-Experimental, n=1286, follow-up to age 18-21

cost benefit analysis of preschool for disadvantaged children
Cost – Benefit Analysis of Preschool for Disadvantaged Children

Cost Benefit to Society

  • Perry Preschool: $12,000 $108,000
  • Abecedarian: $35,864 $136,000
  • CPC: $7,000 $ 48,000

All three studies find that economic benefits from intensive, high-quality programs to taxpayers and participants combined far exceed the cost of high-quality programs (comparable to the cost of public education generally).

education challenges
Education Challenges
  • Many Children Start School with Significant Academic Disadvantages
  • Many Social and Emotional Problems Are Evident Prior to School Entry
  • High School Graduation Declined 40 Years
  • College Graduation Rate Flat for 25 Years
middle class children at risk too
Middle Class Children At Risk Too

Middle class children have fairly high rates of academic problems preschool reduces for low-income children.

Reducing these problems could generate large benefits.

IncomeRetention Dropout

Lowest 20% 17% 23%

20-80% 12% 11%

Highest 20% 8% 3%

Source:US Department of Education, NCES (1997). Dropout rates in the United States: 1995. Figures are multi-year averages.

  • Preschool produces cognitive and social emotional gains for children (at least disadvantaged)
  • Quality preschool education can be a good economic investment
  • Most 3-4 year old children already attend some type of classroom
  • Access and quality must be improved if society is to obtain the returns