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Quality Pre-K Important for Workforce, Military

By Hugh McDonald and Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford

Posted February 14, 2017 in News

Originally posted on Arkansas Business

In Arkansas, a study of the Arkansas Better Chance public pre-K program found meaningful impacts on children’s early language, pre-literacy and pre-math skills. Compared with students outside the program, the at-risk 4-year-olds participating in ABC were four months ahead in vocabulary, had a 37 percent increase in pre-math scores and answered 23 percent more questions correctly on a literacy test after one year.

The impact of early education on math skills is particularly significant. The importance of math and technology is increasing across many professions, including the energy industry and the military, the two areas with which we are most familiar.

In addition to academic skills, quality early education helps children develop social skills — such as working well with others, managing emotions and making good decisions — that are critical for success in both the private sector and in the armed forces.

Finally, early education is also good for the economy. A cost-benefit analysis of nearly 20 different studies of pre-K programs showed that high-quality preschool can return, on average, $29,000 to society for every child served. This return comes primarily from reductions in crime, special education and grade retention, and increased labor market earnings.

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