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The Top 10 Myths About Preschool

The Top 10 Myths About Preschool

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Because high-quality preschool is exceptionally important to the future strength of our nation, it is imperative that we get the facts straight.
Because high-quality preschool is exceptionally important to the future strength of our nation, it is imperative that we get the facts straight.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jun 25, 2013
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1Center or American Progress |  The Top 10 Myths About Preschool
 The Top 10 Myths About Preschool
By Katie Hamm and Juliana Herman June 25, 2013
 Across he counry, momenum is building or a large ederal invesmen in early child-hood educaion. Over he pas ew monhs, Presiden Barack Obama,
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governors,
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  business leaders,
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and miliary ocers
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have all spoken ou in avor o expanding accesso high-qualiy early childhood educaion programs. Te Cener or American Progressreleased a proposal in February o expand access o preschool or 3- and 4-year-olds.
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  And he Obama adminisraion released a plan in he scal year 2014 budge o inves$75 billion over he nex 10 years o provide all low- and moderae-income 4-year-olds wih access o high-qualiy preschool programs hrough a sae-ederal parnership.
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 Access o high-qualiy preschool will signicanly impac he lives o millions o children by improving school readiness, which is essenial o laer academic success and highachievemen. Alhough many saes have made signican progress in expanding accesso high-qualiy preschool, he Unied Saes as a whole lags behind mos oher devel-oped counries, jeopardizing is uure in he global marke.
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Even hough he argumens or invesing in early childhood are compelling, here aresill criics o expanding access o preschool. Teir criicisms, however, are oen basedon misconcepions abou early childhood educaion. Because high-qualiy preschool isexcepionally imporan o he uure srengh o our naion, i is imperaive ha we gehe acs sraigh.Tis issue brie debunks he op 10 myhs abou early childhood educaion and hepresiden’s plan o expand preschool access.
Myth No. 1: Preschool is too expensive
Myth:
 
Expanding preschool would be expensive, and he U.S. deb is already ou o conrol.
Fact:
While he upron price ag or expanding preschool access migh give somepeople sicker shock, invesmens in young children pay or hemselves over ime in heorm o reduced coss associaed wih grade reenion, special educaion, and crime, juso name a ew.
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For every $1 invesed in preschool, he Unied Saes ges $7 back over
 
2Center or American Progress |  The Top 10 Myths About Preschool
he long erm.
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James J. Heckman, a Nobel Prize winner and proessor o economics ahe Universiy o Chicago, has conduced numerous analyses showing ha he earlier you inves in children, he higher he reurn on invesmen.
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In ac, Heckman’s work demonsraes ha invesmens in early childhood educaion have a higher reurn oninvesmen han he sock marke.
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Myth No. 2: The federal government should not have a rolein funding preschool
Myth:
 
Educaion and preschool are sae issues, and he ederal governmen should say ou o hem.
Fact:
For he pas several decades, saes have expanded preschool wihou much helprom he ederal governmen. Fory saes now have some kind o preschool program,serving anywhere rom 75 percen o 4-year-olds o less han 1 percen wih varyinglevels o qualiy.
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Aer a decade o expansion, however, almos every sae cu back on preschool unding in 2012 and eiher reduced enrollmen, spending per child, or boh.
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Now ew saes are in a nancial posiion o ofer volunary access o high-qualiy preschool.o bring preschool o scale and eliminae he preschool access gap, saes need ed-eral suppor. One needs o look no urher han Alabama, which ofers high-qualiy preschool o 16 percen o 4-year-olds bu canno aford expansion.
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Tis ederalinvesmen will suppor saes in building ou heir exising preschool programs andincenivize hose saes ha have ye o esablish a preschool program o begin one. In boh cases, saes will coninue o hold he reins on preschool; he ederal governmen will jus be providing a litle uel.
Myth No. 3: Preschool doesn’t work, and the effects are overstated
Myth:
 
Preschool doesn’ work in he long run, and proponens o early childhood educa-ion are wising he acs o oversae benes ha will never maerialize.
Fact:
Te body o research demonsraing clear benes rom preschool is maureand well-esablished. Tree well-known longiudinal sudies were among he rs oesablish he long-erm and ar-reaching impacs o early childhood educaion: heHighScope Perry Preschool Projec; he Chicago Child-Paren Ceners, or CPC,program; and he Carolina Abecedarian Preschool program. Tese sudies providedinensive inervenions wih high sandards and showed no only immediae academicgains bu also benes ino adulhood, such as reduced need or public assisance, lowercrime raes, and higher earnings.
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3Center or American Progress |  The Top 10 Myths About Preschool
CPC is probably he mos comparable o sae preschool programs, as coss and ser- vices were similar and he program was available o he public hroughou he ciy. Teprogram had an esimaed reurn on invesmen o $10 or every $1 spen due o savingsrom increased earnings, lower crime raes, reduced need or child-abuse and neglecservices, and K-12 savings rom reduced special educaion and grade reenion.
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More recen sudies show ha sae preschool programs have been efecive in boos-ing school readiness and academic achievemen.
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A sudy o Oklahoma’s preschoolprogram ound subsanial gains or children on prelieracy and problem-solving skills.
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  Anoher sudy in Georgia ound ha children made signican improvemens in lan-guage, lieracy, mah, and behavioral skills.
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New Jersey’s Abbot preschool programproduced similar resuls: Researchers ound increases in childrens vocabulary, prinawareness, and mah skills.
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Myth No. 4: The effects of preschool fade out over time
Myth:
 
Preschool is no a worhwhile invesmen because he impac ades ou over ime.
Fact:
 
 According o W. Seven Barnet, direcor o he Naional Insiue or Early Educaion Research and a preeminen early childhood educaion researcher, some mea-sured benes o preschool decline aer children ener elemenary school, bu “on aver-age [hese benes] did no disappear and remained subsanial hroughou he school years.
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Barnet poins o a 2010 analysis o 123 sudies ha ound susained impacsrom early educaion hrough elemenary school.
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In addiion, a recen sudy on New  Jersey’s preschool program ound ha benes rom atending preschool persisedhrough ourh and h grade.
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Similarly, a sudy o he Oklahoma preschool programound posiive efecs on hird-grade mah scores.
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For a more comprehensive review o he efeciveness o preschool and early childhood educaion programs, see reviews rom W. Seven Barnet and Rober Piana, he ounding direcor o he Cener or AdvancedSudy o eaching and Learning.
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Criics oen poin o he resuls o he Head Sar Impac Sudy released in Ocober2012 and unded by he Deparmen o Healh and Human Services, which hey claimshow a so-called ade ou by he end o kindergaren. Te sudy examines he Head Sarprogram and shows ha rom kindergaren o hird grade, here were no measurable di-erences beween children who atended he Head Sar program and hose in he com-parison group.
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Tere were, however, numerous issues wih he sudy ha could haveafeced he resuls, namely ha many children in he comparison group laer atendedHead Sar or anoher preschool program. I’s also worh menioning ha oher sudieso Head Sar have ound reduced need or special educaion and grade reenion as wellas higher raes o high school graduaion.
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