- Dozens of studies show that pre-K works at preparing children for kindergarten
- A few recent studies show that high-quality pre-K can be scaled-up and be associated with learning gains in later grades
- Across the country, public pre-K is delivered in a variety of settings -- not just public school classrooms.
- Pre-K is not an inoculation and not all studies show long-term impact
Fortunately the Institute for Education Sciences just announced six research sites embarking on new studies to examine this very issue. According to an excellent series of recent Ed Week articles on the forthcoming research, the researchers in Tennessee “hypothesized that school districts may simply not have been following up on the hard-won growth of the students who attended preschool.” The new studies should help to test that hypothesis. Meanwhile, many early education experts are being careful not to overpromise and instead are focusing on building a stronger continuum of learning starting from birth and extending up through the early grades. (A series of papers and state profiles published by our team last year have explored what it takes; you can find them on this interactive map.)
- Pre-K cannot be done on the cheap
- Pre-K is not a partisan issue, but disagreements exist on how to pay for it
* Kevin Huffman was recently awarded an annual fellowship through New America’s Fellows Program to write a book about his experience with public education in Tennessee. He is not affiliated with our Education Policy Program.