High Quality Early Education Could Reduce Costs

(Posted May 8, 2015)

Article by Lyndsey Layton February 3, 2015
Excerpts from Brook Phillips, WDE Vision Outreach Services Consultant

Note: Research has indicated that literacy improves with early intervention.

High-quality early childhood programs can reduce the number of children diagnosed with certain learning disabilities by third grade, according to a study published Tuesday in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal. The study, conducted by Clara G. Muschkin, Helen F. Ladd and Kenneth A. Dodge of Duke University, could have significant implications for reducing the financial burden special education services place on municipal budgets.

The researchers explored how two early childhood initiatives in North Carolina affected the likelihood that children would be placed in special education by the end of third grade. It focused on a preschool program for four-year-olds from at-risk families and a program that provides child, family, and health services for children from birth through age five. The study tracked 871,000 children who were born between 1988 and 2000 and were enrolled in third grade between 1995 and 2010.

Children who participated in the More at Four preschool program, now called NC Pre-K, were 32 percent less likely to be placed in special education by third grade, compared to peers who did not participate in the preschool program, the study found.

Together, both programs reduced the likelihood of third-graders receiving special education services by 39 percent, the researchers said. Some small studies have suggested children enrolled in high-quality preschool gain lifelong benefits, such as better jobs and higher wages and are less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system and to receive social services.

To read the complete article and the link to the research document, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-high-quality-early-education-could-reduce-costs/2015/02/03/b714bcee-ab6f-11e4-abe8-e1ef60ca26de_story.html