State Sen. Pat Browne is quoted on John Micek’s blog Wednesday, citing an oft-repeated claim that government funding for preschool is one of the “best investments” of taxpayer money:
“There’s no area where we’ve seen such policy success in the last 10 years as early-childhood,” said Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, the vice-chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “We turned the corner and now we lead the nation in the success of our at-risk children.”
In contrast, the evidence is clear that state preschool funding yields few, if any, positive long-term effects.
- Large, government-run preschools improve student performance upon entry, but all gains disappear by third grade or sooner.
- States with “universal preschool” have no long-term academic gains (in fact, they have declined).
- Preschool conveys few benefits for middle class or upper income students:
- Education tax credits, allowing school choice among existing private preschools, is a more effective policy strategy.