A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows the limited effectiveness of early education programs. Students in the nation's most extensive pre-kindergarten program — Head Start — were shown to have lost all cognitive gains by the end of first grade. Proponents of universal and state-run pre-K should take notice.

Anyone following the world of education policy has heard the argument for universal pre-K. Supporters would like to believe that these programs create students who will be more likely to graduate, more likely to go to college, more likely to get a good paying job and more likely to pay more taxes which will then fund more pre-K programs. The results of this new study severely weaken this line of reasoning.

One doesn't need to dig into the data to realize that pre-K programs fail to produce long-term achievement boosts. As I've documented in the past, making kids go to school more doesn't automatically boost achievement. High quality teachers and access to schools of choice, on the other hand, do.


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