Even the Right Think More at Four is Necessary

The folks at the Carolina Journal aren’t known for their love of government. The poor can just stick it out, I guess they reckon. But even they have been moved to defend More at Four from the budget knife:

“The programs are necessary, particularly for children that come from destitute or unstable homes. These children often encounter difficulties that will keep their academic and social development years behind their school peers,” Stoops said.

Stoops is an education policy analyst at the John Locke Foundation. He then goes on to argue that the effects of pre-K do not last beyond third grade. That’s a pretty selective read of the literature, which has shown effects into middle school and beyond. That the effects go that long should be no surprise: being able to read and write by age 7 or 8 is critical to building learning potential through middle and high school.

Stoops also calls for longitudinal tracking of MAF students. Thanks to a legislative mandate from last year that will happen very soon. In the meantime, let’s hope the Senate and House conferees don’t gut the program beyond recognition. Programs such as More at Four are long-term money savers, as the best available rigorous academic studies have demonstrated.

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