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Longterm Benefits of Preschool Questioned

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Friday, January 10, 2014 at 4:00 AM

A child graduates from preschool.

Ken Colwell / Flickr

For years, early childhood education advocates have pushed to expand preschool programs nationwide. And research has been pretty resolute in touting the benefits of classroom teaching for three and four year-olds.

But the Washington Post reports a discussion this week at the Cato Institute--a Libertarian think tank--questioned how long those benefits really last.

Data from National Head Start Impact studies were at the center of the conversation.  The studies show little difference in how students performed by the end of third grade regardless of whether or not they attended preschool.

Psychology professor Deborah Phillips at Georgetown University is one of the academics raising questions.  Her research has found kids who attended preschool tend to demonstrate better gains in the short term, but that those gains fade out over time.

As debate continues about the long term payoff of the preschool investment, educators in Cincinnati hope the public will still buy-in to their push for expanding such programs around the city.




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