A Rand Corp. study released earlier this week claims that making preschool available to every 4-year-old in California would generate $2 - $4 dollards in benefits for every dollar spent by reducing special education needs, juvenile arrests and the number of children held back a grade. The study also claims that high-quality preschool program would create a more qualified, internationally competitive workforce and foster economic growth.
As Rand points out that:
Preschool education is an increasingly common experience for the nation's young children, with 66 percent of U.S. 4-year-olds and 43 percent of 3-year-olds enrolled in some type of program during 2001.
But there are wide variations in enrollment rates based on factors such as a child's race, family income and parents' education. Enrollment is lowest for Hispanic children. While just 36 percent of 4- and 5-year-olds in California whose mothers have not completed high school are enrolled in early education programs, 65 percent of children whose mothers have a college degree attend preschool.
Education is the key to economic opportunity. The writers at the Yellow Line strongly endorse universal preschool and increased investment to support these programs at both the state and federal levels.