Pre-K for All? Simple Keys to Maximizing Return on Investment and Avoiding Unintended Consequences
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The evidence suggests that the long-term benefits of a high-quality Pre-K program are substantial, regardless of whether the program is provided by a public school, a Head Start program, or a child care center. The near-term benefits, however, can be very sensitive to setting. If public pre-K programs crowd out the private child care industry, many of the near-term gains to the parents of four-year-olds could be offset by the losses to the parents of younger children. Therefore, maximizing the return on Texas’ Pre-K program investments means following two simple, but essential, rules: 1) Don’t settle for mediocrity. Quality costs more, but only high-quality pre-K programs have a demonstrated, long-term impact on student abilities, achievements, and earnings; and 2) Don’t cause undue harm to the child care industry. Wherever Head Start programs and licensed child care centers can meet quality standards, they should be part of the state’s Pre-K investment portfolio.
Taylor, Lori L. (2014). Pre-K for All? Simple Keys to Maximizing Return on Investment and Avoiding Unintended Consequences. Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics & Public Policy. Available electronically from