Tag Archives: universal preschool

Universal Preschool Promises Like Harold Hill's Shiny New Trombones

I was never really big into the whole preschool thing. My parents decided not to enroll me anywhere before kindergarten. So maybe I’m biased a little bit, but the piece “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma” by Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation really shoots holes in many of the arguments for expanding early childhood education. Apparently, the idea that universal preschool gives kids an accelerated start into improved learning just doesn’t bear out on any large scale. Especially when you look at the Sooner State (and I think you ought to look at it sooner rather than later): More than a decade after offering students uni­versal preschool, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia has shown impressive progress in students’ academic achievement, as measured by the National Assess­ment of Educational Progress. In fact, in Oklahoma, fourth-grade reading test scores have declined since 1998 when the state first implemented universal preschool. Say what? Well, I guess you shouldn’t be too surprised — if you’ve been following what I say for any length of time. Like several months ago, when I pointed out what the brilliant Krista Kafer said about the overblown promises of government preschool pushers. They may not […]


Krista Kafer Says Take Another Look at the Facts about Preschool

With her column published yesterday, Independence Institute senior fellow and Face The State columnist Krista Kafer drops a fly or two into the early childhood education debate soup: In Colorado, taxpayers spend $29 million a year on state preschool programs. Denver voters passed a sales tax in 2006 to subsidize preschool. According to a Denver Post article by Jeremy P. Meyer, 3,650 students receive subsidies. James Mejia, director of the Denver Preschool Program, told Meyer that “Studies show that for every dollar you spend on early childhood education, you will get back $10 to $12 in services you would otherwise be spending on social services, incarceration, remediation.” Sounds great, but upon closer examination, this just isn’t true. The cost-benefit analyses routinely bandied about by advocates come up short. The analysis is largely based on exaggerated claims from a tiny subset of studies misrepresented as the whole. When the vast majority of research is considered, it becomes clear that preschool does not reap the amazing benefits touted by advocates. Four decades of legitimate research actually shows that the majority of low-income children experience only short-term positive impacts and there is little long-term impact from preschool participation. Research also shows that preschool […]


Terry Moe: Democrats and Effective Education Reform in the Balance

The best education read of the Thanksgiving week goes to the Hoover Institution’s Terry Moe, writing in the Wall Street Journal: Democrats are fervent supporters of public education, and the party genuinely wants to help disadvantaged kids stuck in bad schools. But it resists bold action. It is immobilized. Impotent. The explanation lies in its longstanding alliance with the teachers’ unions — which, with more than three million members, tons of money and legions of activists, are among the most powerful groups in American politics. The Democrats benefit enormously from all this firepower, and they know what they need to do to keep it. They need to stay inside the box. And they have done just that. Democrats favor educational “change” — as long as it doesn’t affect anyone’s job, reallocate resources, or otherwise threaten the occupational interests of the adults running the system. Most changes of real consequence are therefore off the table. The party specializes instead in proposals that involve spending more money and hiring more teachers — such as reductions in class size, across-the-board raises and huge new programs like universal preschool. These efforts probably have some benefits for kids. But they come at an exorbitant price, […]