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William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058,
Dan Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

New Brief Summarizes Academic and Fiscal Benefits of Universal Preschool

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Nov. 13, 2012) — Universal preschool education has become an increasingly supported topic by the American public. Sound research evidence supports the expansion of high-quality preschool opportunities, according to the third in a series of two- and three-page briefs summarizing key findings in education policy research.

According to Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, "There is near-universal agreement that high-quality preschool programs more than pay for themselves in economic and social benefits." Mathis also notes, "In terms of academic effects, preschool programs show large and immediate pay-offs."

This three-page brief is part of Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research.  Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.

Indeed, high-quality preschool for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap. Such preschool participation is also associated with a wide range of more positive adult outcomes, including less drug use, less welfare dependency, higher graduation rates, higher college attendance, and higher employment.

The brief explains the key elements of a quality pre-school program. It also discusses research findings concerning basic issues such as the entrance age for preschool, comparisons of center-based and home-based programs, and whether preschool should be universal or targeted by socioeconomic group.

This three-page brief is part of the multipart brief Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking.

Find the brief on the GLC website at:

This report is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

This brief is also found on the NEPC website at:

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