In a January 17, 2014 article, this business/economics professor does not think that the meager benefits (his opinion) are worth the cost. What do Cape parents think?
You can find the article on-line at:
Universal Preschool: Expensive and Ineffective
By Edward Stringham
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is promising bold change, but the centerpiece of his education-reform package -- universal, government-run preschool -- is a looming financial and bureaucratic nightmare. Adding universal preschool to government K-12 schooling may sound like a harmless proposal, but it would strain New York City's education budget while delivering few of the new mayor's promised results.
De Blasio plans to raise taxes by more than $500 million per year to pay for this and other programs. While de Blasio and other government-preschool proponents claim that this additional spending will open the doors to the future, the expanded government program is far more likely to hang like an albatross around the city's neck.
Many of the scholarly articles in support of universal government preschool ignore the costs of creating another municipal bureaucracy -- including teacher salaries and benefits, administrative and regulatory costs, and the negative economic effects of added taxes. Chris Cardiff and I studied a similar proposal in California analyzed by RAND and found that, using RAND's own data and alternative assumptions based on the studies they reference, it is easy to demonstrate that universal preschool generates losses of 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent. And these losses are calculated before including any of the additional universal preschool program costs that RAND ignored in its analysis.
One unseen cost is the potential of putting private preschools out of business. New York City's private preschools are as diverse as its children, and parents are able to compare preschools and choose the one that best fits their child's needs, learning styles, and social interests. If a universal government-preschool plan were to pass, this cornucopia of options would be replaced by a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy, and private preschool would become a luxury available only to the most wealthy.
And the benefits of universal pre-K touted by proponents are not at all sure to materialize. Past studies of programs like Head Start have found that participation in preschool has no effect on high-school completion, college attendance, or young-adult earnings – all drivers of the financial benefits de Blasio and others promise – and a very limited effect on crime rates. An analysis by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found that universal-preschool programs in Georgia and Oklahoma had only small effects on participants' later academic achievement. Researchers at Vanderbilt University conducted an in-depth study of children who attended Tennessee's government-administered preschools, and found that by first grade, any benefits provided by the preschools had vanished entirely. In fact, the preschools had an insignificant to slightly negative effect on both academic and social/emotional skills.
New York City is hardly without budgetary woes -- a low-income housing crisis, burdensome pensions, and massive cuts to public library budgets are just a few. Mayor de Blasio has more than enough on his plate already, and he would only be adding to his city's problems by putting another costly and entirely unnecessary entitlement program on the city credit card.
Edward Stringham is the L.V. Hackley distinguished professor for the study of capitalism and free enterprise at the School of Business and Economics at Fayetteville State University and an adjunct scholar with Reason Foundation in Los Angeles.
Here's one of the comments re the article on the RealClear Policy web site:
In our community we have a variety of preschools. Some are private and even for profit. Many are church sponsored, open to all, and the churches consider them a mission opportunity.
Our church has a wonderful program, and it affords a number of women members the opportunity to work a little bit and participate in our church health care plan, which is very good. In fact, all of our preschool teachers have at least bachelor's degrees in early childhood education. They are married to men who do not have insurance at work, and the church sponsored insurance is critical.
What is strange is that my own grandchildren did not go to preschool. They attended kindergarten when the time came, and they did just fine. One is in gifted classes, and the other one is headed that way. Mommy and Daddy were active participants in their early education (as they are now that they are in school).
I think that a better use of funds would be to encourage and implement a Parents as Teachers program, like the one in Missouri (not the state where I live, but I have friends who participate.) The great thing about this program is that teachers go where the "rubber meets the road" -- at home. They are able to evaluate children and advise parents where the preschooler may need some help. They also are there to encourage parents to participate in their child's education.
Do children need to be "socialized" at three years old. NOOOOO. They need mommy and a daddy who spend time with them and teach them. Nothing is better for little Johnny.
from page 16 of the Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40
Although the program had a strong effect on children’s intellectual performance, didn’t it fade out over time?
It is true that the High/Scope Perry Preschool program had a statistically significant effect on children’s IQs during and up to a year after the program, but not after that. This pattern has been found in numerous other studies, such as those in the Consortium for Longitudinal Studies (1983).
The study shows that high quality preschool education has no effect on children's scholastic performance after a year or so. But it does seem to have long term social benefits such as; higher high school graduation rates, fewer arrests as an adult, higher income levels at age 40.
David Armor says pre K education has no proven benefits
Valerie Strauss disagrees with David Armor