Policy brief: The fiscal and educational benefits of universal universal preschool

25 Nov

In Early learning standards and the K-12 continuum, moi said:

Preschool is a portal to the continuum of life long learning. A good preschool stimulates the learning process and prompts the child into asking questions about their world and environment. Baby Center offers advice about how to find a good preschool and general advice to expectant parents. At the core of why education is important is the goal of equipping every child with the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR dream, whatever that dream is. Christine Armario and Dorie Turner are reporting in the AP article, AP News Break: Nearly 1 in 4 Fails Military Exam which appeared in the Seattle Times:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Many children begin their first day of school behind their more advantaged peers. Early childhood learning is an important tool is bridging the education deficit. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/early-learning-standards-and-the-k-12-contiuum/

Huffington Post reports in the article, Preschool Education Deserves Expansion, Investment: National Education Policy Center Brief:

In a brief released Tueday, National Education Policy Center managing director Dr. William Mathis urges policymakers to invest in high-quality preschool education, citing its universally acknowledged economic and social benefits.

According to Mathis, in inflation-adjusted dollars, overall funding per child is lower than a decade ago, despite the fact that high-quality, intensive preschool education for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap.

Involvement in preschool programs can also yield more positive adult outcomes, such as fewer arrests, less drug use, fewer grade retentions, higher college attendance rates, higher employment and earnings, greater social mobility and less welfare dependency.

Mathis goes on to explain the key elements of a quality preschool program, which include small class sizes and ratios — 20 or fewer children, with two adults. He also says programs should boast well-trained, adequately compensated teachers and include strong links to social and health services. The author highlights the importance of featuring a mix of child-initiated and teacher directed activities, with adequate time for individualized and small group interactions.

According to Mathis’ brief, economically deprived children benefit most from preschool, but all children experience some advantage from participation in such programs. Branching off that, children from middle-income families tend to struggle with access because they are not eligible for programs like Head Start, which enrolls fewer students than state or district programs. Results indicate Head Start is a cost-effective program with lesser but nonetheless positive results, suggesting it should be retained but also strengthened

Besides broad investment in preschool, Mathis recommends states develop and monitor early education standards in order to ensure quality programs. Furthermore, programs should be expanded to include three-year-olds, with an emphasis on needy children and promoting the well-being of the “whole child.”

The results of a Chicago-based study released last June bolstered the findings from similar, smaller studies showing that high-quality preschool “gives you your biggest bang for the buck,” according to Dr. Pamela High, chair of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that deals with early childhood issues. The study tracked more than 1,000 low-income, mostly black Chicago children for up to 25 years, including nearly 900 who attended the city’s intensive Child-Parent Center Education Program in the early 1980s. Overall, those who attended the program fared much better in life than their peers who did not attend preschool, recording fewer arrest and securing better jobs. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/national-education-policy_n_2122594.html

Here is the press release from The National Education Policy Center:


William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/a3kh6ps

BOULDER, CO (November 13, 2012) –Policymakers should heed the sound research evidence supporting the expansion of high-quality preschool opportunities, according to the third in a series of two- and three-page briefs summarizing key  findings in education policy research.
The brief is authored by Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Bo ulder School of Education.
There is near-universal agreement among researchers “that high-quality preschool programs more than pay for themselves in economic and social benefits,” Mathis writes. Indeed, high-quality preschool for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap. Such preschool participation is also associated with a wide range of more positive adult outcomes, including less drug use, less welfare dependency, higher graduation rates, higher college attendance, and higher employment.
Despite these demonstrated outcomes and the increase in children attending pre-school, “in inflation adjusted dollars, overall funding per child served is lower than a decade ago,” Mathis writes. For preschool to reap its proven substantial benefits, lawmakers must assure that the programs are of high quality and are adequately supported.
The brief explains the key elements of a quality pre-school program. It also discusses research findings concerning basic issues such as the entrance age for preschool, comparisons of center-based and home-based programs, and whether preschool should be universal or targeted by socioeconomic group.
The three-page brief is part of
Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.
The brief is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit
This brief is also found on the GLC website at

Here is more information from Dr. Mathias:

William J. Mathis

November 13, 2012

Press Release →

Media Citations →

Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking is a 10-part brief that takes up important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations for policymakers are based on the latest scholarship. 


Section 1:  Teacher Evaluation.  After reviewing different types of evaluative methods, Mathis points out the importance of using a combination of methods, of including all stakeholders in decision-making about evaluation systems, and of investing in the evaluation system.

Section 2:  Common Core State Standards.  Mathis explains how the actual effect of the widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards will depend less on the standards themselves than on how they are used.

Section 3:  Preschool Education.  Investment in high-quality preschool education is one of the most effective reform strategies. Bill Mathis details the key elements of such a program, and the supporting research.

Section 4:  Effective School Expenditures

Section 5:  Funding Formulas and Choice

Section 6:  English Language Learners Parent Involvement

Section 7:  Dropout Strategies

Section 8:  21st Century College and Career Ready

Section 9:  LGBT Safety Policies

Section 10:  Detracking

Moi wrote in OECD study: U.S. lags behind in preschool enrollment:


Lesli A. Maxwell reports in the Education Week article, Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Preschool Enrollment a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD):

According to the Paris-based OECD’s “Education at a Glance 2012,” a report released today, the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary education programs, at 69 percent. That’s compared with more than 95 percent enrollment rates in France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Mexico, which lead the world in early-childhood participation rates for 4-year-olds. Ireland, Poland, Finland, and Brazil are among the nations that trail the United States.

The United States also invests significantly less public money in early-childhood programs than its counterparts in the Group of Twenty, or G-20, economies, which include 19 countries and the European Union. On average, across the countries that are compared in the OECD report, 84 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in public programs or in private settings that receive major government resources in 2010. In this country, just 55 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in publicly supported programs in 2010, while 45 percent attended independent private programs….. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/11/04oecd.h32.html?tkn=YZXFRtH3UunPt9e%2B5ZodvlLULKTdt47aFyK8&cmp=clp-edweek



Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators

Our goals should be: A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Think small, Not small minded ©

Money spent on early childhood programs is akin to yeast for bread. The whole society will rise.


What is the Educare preschool model?                                https://drwilda.com/2012/11/09/what-is-the-educare-preschool-model/

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