Preschool Makes Better Grownups, Cont'd

Jun 13, 2011

On our Friday podcast, we talked with an economist about the long-term benefits of preschool, which appear to extend well into adulthood.

A new paper published in Science finds a similar result. The study looks at adults in their 20s who were given free access preschool and six years of enrichment programs during school. Compared to a similar group that didn't get the extra programs, the adults showed:

... higher educational attainment, income ... and health insurance coverage, as well as lower rates of justice-system involvement and substance abuse. Evidence of enduring effects was strongest for preschool, especially for males and children of high school dropouts.

The study had a bit of bounce on the blogs.

Kevin Drum loves it:

in an environment of limited resources, our highest priority ought to be programs that we already know how to implement and that have proven bang for the buck. Intensive preschool fits that bill, and it's simply moronic not to be directing big-time funding in that direction.

Megan McArdle is skeptical:'s a huge mistake to assume that a pilot program can be rolled out on a large scale. Pilot programs are run by top-notch experts who are committed to, and familiar with, the organization's goals. Attentive to producing good data, they follow procedures much more closely than ordinary employees. They have all the enthusiasm of someone embarked on a noble project--one of temporary duration. They have none of the frustration and demotivation of people stuck in challenging but often tedious jobs.

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