(Victor Joecks/NPRI) – At last night’s education committee hearing, both Clark County Superintendent Dwight Jones and Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison indicated they are proponents of spending government money to provide pre-K services. Several liberal lawmakers have also previously indicated they are big fans of pre-K.
Each claims that funding pre-K increases student achievement.
Except it doesn’t. Consider Georgia, which has had universal, state-subsidized pre-K since 1992. [Scores from the NAEL Fourth Grade reading test are continually lower than the national average. – Ed.]
Or consider Oklahoma, which has had universal, state-subsidized pre-K since 1998. [Scores on the NAEL Fourth Grade reading test plummeted once pre-K was begun. – Ed.]
Now compare this to the reforms Florida instituted in 1998, and the ensuing results. [Scores for Florida’s students on the NAEL Fourth Grade reading test are considerably higher than the national average. – Ed.]
There’s no contest. Why would anyone choose pre-K over the proven reforms of Florida? Bueller… Bueller…
Now, advocates of pre-K will cite small-, small-scale studies to justify this enormous expense, but those studies have significant limitations, which the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke details here. She also explains here how government-funded pre-school could crowd out private alternatives.
In fact, the research in these papers is so important, I’m going to link to them again:
- Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma
- More Government Preschool: An Expensive and Unnecessary Middle-Class Subsidy
The next time someone advocates pre-K as a solution to Nevada’s education problems, remind him or her about Georgia and Oklahoma. There’s no need to repeat a failed experiment.
State-subsidized pre-K is an enormously expensive program that produces little to no lasting increase in student achievement.