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When It Comes To Publicly Funded Preschool, Are We Asking The Wrong Questions And Getting The Wrong Answers?

This article originally appeared at "The Huffington Post."

As enrollment in publicly funded preschool grows, many policymakers are asking, “Does publicly funded preschool work?” This question seems sensible: preschool programs, especially high quality ones, do not come cheap. An answer to this question could greatly aid decisions regarding continuing, expanding or abandoning investments in these programs.

Unfortunately, determining whether publicly funded preschool “works” is harder than it sounds.

Researchers have been asking some version of “does it work?” for nearly half a century and have generated an invaluable body of research which indicates that attending a preschool program is generally associated with good things for children. But in order to really understand whether publicly funded preschool “works,” we must focus not only on the characteristics of the preschool programs themselves but also, perhaps counterintuitively, on what is happening outside of them. In other words, an equally important question to ask is this: how would children likely spend their days if these programs did not exist?

Read more at The Huffington Post.


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