The 2014 '30 Under 30'

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Studies show universal preschool isn’t as great as Obama says

Forget gun control! President Barack Obama has a new plan to reduce violent crime: Preschool for all!

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the President outlined his vision for universal preschool, arguing that early schooling can help children succeed and diminish negative behaviors and outcomes.

“Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime,” Obama assured the country that’s currently in $16.4 trillion in debt.

While Obama’s vision for preschool sounds nice, it isn’t based in fact.

One of the main studies universal preschool advocates like Obama highlight is the The Perry Program in Michicgan that boasted a $7.16 return on investment, because more students who went through the program graduated from high school, found a job and earned more than those who didn’t go through the program. What they don’t tell you is that this study used a very small sample size and would be very hard to recreate, according to The Heritage Foundation. Not to mention, no other preschool program has been nearly as successful as the Perry Program.

In fact, studies by Stanford University and the University of California showed that attending preschool can actually cause bad behavior, not reduce it like Obama claims, possibly because students are spending less time with their parents at such a crucial age.

Obama also cited Oklahoma and Georgia, two states that provide universal preschool to 4-year-olds, as an argument for his case.

“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job and form more stable families of their own,” he said on Tuesday.”So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.”

In 2008, Georgia spent $325 million and Oklahoma spend $139 million on their respective preschool programs. So do the benefits outweigh the costs like Obama promises? The evidence says no. Studies show that students who attend preschool lose any academic edge over those who didn’t by the third grade, according to Heritage.

And when Connecticut sought to provide universal preschool last September, the program was estimated to cost the state $43.8 million a year and $220.6 million on top of that to build classrooms, according to The CT Mirror.

And that’s just one state. Imagine how much it would cost to provide preschool to the whole country.

 

Comments

Comments

  1. Roger Mitchell says:

    Look LBJ and his great society Bull back in 65 started a program called head start .. Aka National free pre school for poor kids free food free drink free rides free free free.. and today after many Federal dollars waste on even more useless studies they all say its a dump money wasting program.. last I looked into that on average they where wasting right at $8,000.00 per head a yr and an annual budget of over 8 Billion a yr. not to mention close to 220,000 paid teachers averaging 30 K per yr and and six times that number work as volunteers and the kids learn nothing but finger painting ..I was married to a teacher there (: she quit after a 4 yrs old threatened to cut her throat.. And had the knife to do the job after trying to correct his Grammar Only place hiring now day is the Federal Gov..

  2. Brenda says:

    Sesame Street doesn’t give kids any edge, head start doesn’t give them one, pre-school doesn’t give them one. Children do not need to be indoctrinated that early in life. They need to be at home with a parent who will discipline them in the right way. The difference between how the average 5 year old thinks and the average 6 year old is incredible. Kindergarten is not health for children and is of little benefit in the long run.

  3. KatieOh says:

    You are completely correct. A friend’s wife was the Director of a Head Start location and it cost SO much to run it and then the Gov’t. couldn’t keep them afloat. So they cut back on the teachers and then cut their budget. Finally, the only folks there couldn’t handle the kids all by themselves. The children had many problems, stemming from family and mental problems. It was a horrible mess and they weren’t learning what they should have been. Total waste of money. She finally gave up the Directorship just to have a normal life and be rid of the problems that no amount of fixing would resolve!

  4. Dah says:

    If our current schools are failing miserably, why would more of the same at a younger age do better?

  5. DonnaNed says:

    Studies have shown that when parents simply talk to their young children, learning and comprehension are enhanced significantly for children. It makes sense that listening to parents and one-on-one conversation with an adult would be absolutely superior to other forms of early education. Much better than the idea of placing small children in a large group with one teacher and with children with many discipline problems (and other issues). Talking to our children is something we did persistently and all of our older children have now graduated from college, one majoring in bio-chemistry, one in music and one earning a doctorate in philosophy. It really works! Obviously, there is more involved in education than simply talking to your kids, but this is where a truly good education starts – the minute the child is born. You can begin right away! And it’s economical, too!

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