In its latest report, the Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center explores the wide-ranging benefits of early education and care for both children and parents — as well as the overall economy.
A quick summary, directly from Mass Budget’s report:
For children: Participation in early education and care helps lay a foundation for success in school and in life. Many children who participate in early education and care have better academic outcomes later in their K-12 careers. They also have improved social outcomes, participating in the workforce at higher rates, earning more, and accessing other public benefits at lower rates.
For parents: Early education and care makes it easier for parents to work, giving them the support they need to seek and keep jobs, to improve their economic circumstances, and to provide for their families. This kind of support has become even more important since welfare reforms of the mid-1990s, which encouraged welfare recipients to join the workforce.
For the economy: Economic gains are both immediate and longer-term: 1) early education and care provides an immediate benefit as parents are better able to participate in the workforce and contribute to the state economy; and 2) it provides a longer-term benefit as children are set on a path to become more productive adults, able to make effective contributions to society in the years ahead. These benefits are greatest for low-income children with the weakest existing formal supports.
Check out the full report: Building A Foundation for Success
Massachusetts Universal Pre-Kindergarten Pilot Program Evaluation
Abt Associates – December 2008
As Prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40
HighScope Perry – 2005
This HighScope Perry study followed the lives of 123 at-risk children born in poverty. At ages 3 and 4, children were divided into two groups — one that received high-quality early education and another that received no preschool program. Now well into adulthood, the subjects were visited 40 years later. Additional information was compiled from school, social service and criminal records.
The comprehensive study found that children who had access to quality early education programs had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool.
Age 21 Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Title I Chicago Child-Parent Center Program
University of Wisconsin – June 2001
This study conducted a full cost-benefit analysis of the federal Title I Child-Parent Center (CPC) Program in Chicago. The CPC is a school-based preschool and early school-age intervention program for low-income children that emphasizes parent involvement and the development of literacy skills.
Previous studies have shown quality early education programs to be independently associated with higher student achievement and lower dropout rates. Participation in these programs also led to lower incidences of juvenile arrests and reduced need for school remedial services
The University of Wisconsin review concluded that economic and societal benefits of the CPC program far outweighed the costs. For every 1,000 children who have participated in the program, $26 million in public benefit resulted. Given the number of participating children through 2001, these benefits translated to $2.6 billion in public savings.
Early Learning, Later Success
Carolina Abecedarian Project
Since 1974 the Abecedarian Project has studied the progress of 57 low-income individuals who were assigned to receive high-quality child care from infancy to age 5. Their progress is compared to that of 54 similarly-situated children who did not receive the early education treatment.
By the age of 18 months, children in the intervention group already had significantly higher scores on mental tests. Cognition assessments at ages 12 and 15 showed this group continued to excel years later — scoring significantly higher in reading and math through middle adolescence. By age 21, those in the treatment group were twice as likely to still be in school, pursuing higher education opportunities. They were two years older, on average, when their first child was born — and had a 15% higher employment rate.