Moving America Forward

40 Years Ago, Researchers Sent Half These Kids to Preschool. And What an Amazing Difference It Made.

December 19, 2013
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40 Years Ago, Researchers Sent Half These Kids to Preschool. And What an Amazing Difference It Made.
Early learning shapes people's lives.

It might look like kids at preschool are just coloring pictures, playing with clay or running around on the playground, but what they’re really doing is laying the foundation for their futures as productive Americans. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is urging his state legislature to increase funding to pre-K for needy kids after analyzing the results of a study that began in the 1960s. Back then, researchers assigned 123 black children from low-income homes in Ypsilanti, Mich., to either a research group or a control group. The research group attended preschool, the control group did not. Although members of both groups emerged with similar IQs, the preschool group was much more likely to achieve employment stability, stay out of jail, and engage in healthy behaviors overall. The lessons preschool teaches about interacting with teachers and other kids, and building self-control apparently last a lifetime. That’s all the more reason to invest in the next generation by providing preschool to as many low-income children as possible.

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