The truth about pre-K (hint: it doesn’t work)

Victor Joecks

At last night’s education committee hearing, both Clark County Superintendent Dwight Jones and Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison indicated they are proponents of spending government money to provide pre-K services. Several liberal lawmakers have also previously indicated they are big fans of pre-K.

Each claims that funding pre-K increases student achievement.

Except it doesn’t. Consider Georgia, which has had universal, state-subsidized pre-K since 1992.

Scores from the NAEP Fourth Grade reading test.

Or consider Oklahoma, which has had universal, state-subsidized pre-K since 1998.

Scores from the NAEP Fourth Grade reading test.

Now compare this to the reforms Florida instituted in 1998, and the ensuing results.

There’s no contest. Why would anyone choose pre-K over the proven reforms of Florida? Bueller… Bueller…

Now, advocates of pre-K will cite small-, small-scale studies to justify this enormous expense, but those studies have significant limitations, which the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke details here. She also explains here how government-funded pre-school could crowd out private alternatives.

In fact, the research in these papers is so important, I’m going to link to them again:

The next time someone advocates pre-K as a solution to Nevada’s education problems, remind him or her about Georgia and Oklahoma. There’s no need to repeat a failed experiment.

State-subsidized pre-K is an enormously expensive program that produces little to no lasting increase in student achievement.