Report’s Attack on Federal Preschool Proposals is Misleading and Inaccurate
Review finds bias, selective use of evidence in Lexington report

Contact: Teri Battaglieri, (517) 203-2940,
W. Steven Barnett, (732) 932-4350;

EAST LANSING, Mich., (March 24, 2008)—A report from the Lexington Institute that critiques federal pre-Kindergarten proposals is incomplete, misleading, biased and inaccurate, a new review of the report finds.

The report, “How Sound an Investment? An Analysis of Federal Prekindergarten Proposals,” was reviewed for the Think Twice project by W. Steven Barnett, the director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

Expanding pre-Kindergarten (or pre-K) has become the subject of a growing national movement as evidence emerges about the importance of early childhood education in setting the stage for later school achievement. A number of federal bills have been proposed to support and fund pre-K education.

The new Lexington report contends that federally funded preschool for all children would cost too much while providing little benefit to children. The report makes particular note of research on “negative” effects of preschool on children’s behavior and complains that a government-run program would drive private child care providers out of business. The report instead proposes either tax credits for private child care or vouchers that low-income families could use to purchase private early childhood care and education.

Barnett, however, finds the report to be severely flawed. “Rather than capitalizing on an opportunity to clarify an area of policy that is ripe for change, the report manages to muddy the waters and to obstruct reasoned discussion of approaches for improving opportunities for many of the nation’s children,” he writes.  

Among other problems identified in his review, Barnett finds that the report misuses studies to make it claims and omits research which is at odds with the views of the report’s authors.

 “The report presents inaccurate information about current public pre-K programs and the research into their effects. Although the report provides some useful cautions to policymakers, it exaggerates their importance in comparison to the potential benefits of pre-K,” Barnett concludes. The result is a report that “oversimplifies the debate,” ignores relevant research and falls short of thoughtful policy discussion.

Find the complete review by W. Steven Barnett as well as a link to the Lexington Institute’s report at:

About the Think Tank Review Project
The Think Twice project provides the public, policy makers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected think tank publications. It is a collaboration of the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University and the Education and the Public Interest Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.


The mission of the Great Lakes Center is to improve public education for all students in the Great Lakes region through the support and dissemination of high quality, academically sound research on education policy and practices.

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