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Untangling the Evidence on Preschool Effectiveness: Insights for Policymakers

Research showing that high-quality preschool benefits children’s early learning and later life outcomes has led to increased state engagement in public preschool. However, mixed results from evaluations of two programs—Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K program and Head Start—have left many policymakers unsure about how to ensure productive investments. This report presents the most rigorous evidence on the effects of preschool and clarifies how the findings from Tennessee and Head Start relate to the larger body of research showing that high-quality preschool enhances children’s school readiness by supporting substantial early learning gains in comparison to children who do not experience preschool and can have lasting impacts far into children’s later years of school and life. Therefore, the issue is not whether preschool “works,” but how to design and implement programs that ensure public preschool investments consistently deliver on their promise.

Keywords
education policy; literature review; early childhood learning; equity
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/z952-x582

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Meloy, Beth, Madelyn Gardner, and Linda Darling-Hammond. (). Untangling the Evidence on Preschool Effectiveness: Insights for Policymakers. (EdWorkingPaper: -174). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/z952-x582

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