Research and Information

Facts from Early Childhood Research 

Returns are large

Large returns confirmed by recent studies of regular state and local agencies operating at large scale

Fade-out: short-term test scores better predictor of long-term earnings than long-term test scores

  • Perry had fade out of test score effects, but 19% earnings boost.
  • Deming : fade in Head Start test scores, but later outcomes predict 11% adult earnings boost.
  • Chetty found that short-term test score effects of kindergarten good predictor of adult earnings effects, but test effects at 3rd grade predict only one-sixth of actual future earnings effects.
  • Why? Importance of hard-to-measure “soft skills”.
  • Some fade-out may reflect controls getting remediation. Remediation savings is benefit of pre-K.

Head Start study

Costs affordable, and eventually self-financing

  • High-quality half-day pre-K is $5K/kid, full-day $9K, full-time child care and pre-K from birth to age 5 is $80K/kid, and parenting programs such as Nurse Family Partnership cost $10K/kid.
  • National costs at full-scale are $15 billion/yr. for  half-day pre-K for all 4-yr- olds, double for full-day or adding age 3.  Full-time child-care/pre-K from birth to age 5 for all disadvantaged kids would cost $40B/yr. NFP for all disadvantaged 1st-time moms costs $4B/yr.
  • Costs are modest per capita. Universal pre-K cost of $15B/yr is $50 per capita.
  • Fiscal benefits from higher tax revenues, lower welfare/special ed/crime costs result in fiscal benefits exceeding costs after 9 to 49 yrs., depending on assumptions.

Pre-K has broad benefits for working class and middle class kids as well as poor

  • Similar $ effects on earnings predicted for both middle-class & poor based onTulsa/Boston.
  • Why? Quality pre-K hard for middle-class to afford on its own.
  • Targeting still requires big #s: just below half of children less than 5 are below 200% of poverty.

Child-care/parenting program benefits focused on poor kids, but parental benefits may be broader.

  • Why? Middle-class parents may be able to offer/afford such services on their own.
  • Subsidized child-care may have broad benefits for middle-class parents & economy.

State test score trends are consistent with positive benefits of broader access to quality pre-K

Taken from a blog by Tim Bartik on early childhood programs and local economic development policies.