MDRC in the News

Pre-to-3: Former Georgia Pre-k Students Score Higher than Peers at 3rd Grade

Education Dive


Few states have as much experience with public pre-K as Georgia. The first to create a universal state-funded program — not restricted to low-income families or children facing other risks — the state created a model that has inspired other early education-focused policymakers across the country…..

….But even as the program enters its 27th year this fall, leaders say they are still learning lessons about how to balance quality improvement efforts with expanding preschool access to more children and working with teachers in the early grades to build on learning that takes place in pre-K — the same challenges facing the field nationally…..

…..Another recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan and MDRC, focusing on the universal pre-K program in the Boston Public Schools, shows that “nonappliers” are more likely that those that do apply to be non-white, to be low income, and to be non-English speaking. These children are also more likely to later attend lower-quality elementary schools and to have poorer 3rd-grade outcomes.

“These findings suggest that as prekindergarten programs expand, they should pay attention to identifying and targeting children who are unlikely to enroll in any prekindergarten program, if they want to draw in the most disadvantaged students rather than targeting nonappliers in general,” the authors write. They add that similar analyses in other parts of the country could aid in “recruiting the students who could benefit most”…..

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