Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Long-Awaited Vanderbilt Pre-K Study Finds Benefits Lacking

by Blake Farmer, Sep 28, 2015, Nashville Public Radio - A five-year study conducted on Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K program is leaving researchers scratching their heads.
Vanderbilt Peabody College professors followed a thousand students from pre-K through third grade and compared them to a control group who skipped pre-K. All of the students are considered economically disadvantaged.
Not only did students who missed pre-K catch up within a year or two. But researchers found, on the whole, students who attended pre-K fell behind their peers by the time they finished third grade.
“We’re pretty stunned looking at these data and have a lot of questions about what might be going on in the later grades that doesn’t seem to be maintaining, if not accelerating, the positive gains, professor Mark Lipsey, director of the Peabody Research Institute, said in a statement.
This study was highly anticipated by policy makers. Gov. Bill Haslam has said he was waitingfor the results before deciding whether to expand pre-K in Tennessee.
A previous study done by the TennesseeComptroller found similar results, showing that the benefits of pre-K wear off by third grade, leading some early childhood learning advocates to suggest the study was flawed. LINK

Comment: Please, please if anyone knows Megan Barry, who campaigned on a platform in favor of universal Pre-K, see is she can be persuaded by facts to change her mind.  To expand pre-K services to all 4-year-olds in Nashville would cost around $5 million annually, by Megan Barry's own estimate.

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