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The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California

The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California

Lynn A. Karoly
James H. Bigelow
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California
    Book Description:

    There is increased interest in California and other states in providing universal access to publicly funded preschool education. In considering such a program, policymakers and the public focus on the potential benefits and costs of such a program. This study aims to inform such deliberations by conducting an analysis of the economic returns from investing in high-quality preschool education in the state of California.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4083-1
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xl)
  7. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xli-xlii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xliii-xliv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    While an increasing fraction of U.S. children participate in some form of preschool program prior to entering kindergarten, such an experience is far from universal. As of 2001, 43 percent of U.S. 3-years-olds and 66 percent of U.S. 4-years-olds were enrolled in a day care center, Head Start program, preschool, nursery school, prekindergarten, or other early childhood program (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2002). Moreover, preschool participation rates are lower among children in poor families compared with their nonpoor counterparts: 47 percent versus 59 percent for poor and nonpoor 3- to 5-year-olds, respectively. For many of these children across...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Benefits of Preschool Education
    (pp. 19-66)

    A key element in assessing the economics of a universal preschool program in California is understanding the potential effects of such a program on participating children, both in terms of the immediate effects, for example on school readiness, but also on longer-term effects on school performance and other outcomes as the children age. In this chapter, we review what is known about the impacts of high-quality preschool programs based on scientifically sound research. We concentrate on studies that examine center-based programs serving children at ages 3 or 4, prior to kindergarten entry.

    Most of the best research evidence comes from...

  11. CHAPTER THREE A Benefit-Cost Analysis of Universal Preschool Education in California
    (pp. 67-120)

    Judging from the scientifically sound research literature, a high-quality universal preschool program can generate sizeable long-term benefits, particularly for disadvantaged children, and to a lesser extent, for more-advantaged children as well. In this chapter, we use benefit-cost methodology to translate those long-term benefits from the universal preschool program discussed in Chapter Two into dollar savings for government, as well as benefits to program participants and the rest of society. These benefits are then compared with the estimated costs of such a program. The analysis in this chapter parallels a previous study of the benefits and costs of the Chicago CPC...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Indirect Economic and Noneconomic Benefits of Universal Preschool Education
    (pp. 121-140)

    The benefit-cost analysis presented in Chapter Three provides one perspective on the economic case for a universal preschool program in California. Such an analysis, however, does not fully capture all of the potential economic and noneconomic benefits that may accrue to the state of California from such an investment.¹ In this chapter, we consider several others ways in which the California economy, its work-force, and its businesses may gain from a universal preschool program in both the short run and long run. In particular, we focus on one benefit in the near term: the current labor force, and two potential...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions
    (pp. 141-152)

    The benefit-cost analysis undertaken in this study indicates that there can be substantial returns for California society as a whole from investing in a high-quality universal preschool program. Our baseline estimates, arguably conservative figures, show that every additional dollar invested by the public sector, beyond current spending, generates $2.62. The associated stream of investment costs and returns produce an IRR of about 10 percent. Even a very conservative estimate of the benefits from a high-quality universal preschool program generates almost $2 for every dollar invested and an IRR to California society of nearly 8 percent. If benefits exceed our conservative...

  14. APPENDIX A Methodology and Sources for Benefit-Cost Analysis
    (pp. 153-164)
  15. APPENDIX B Benefit-Cost Estimates for a Targeted Preschool Program
    (pp. 165-176)
  16. References
    (pp. 177-192)