Kalamazoo economist weighs in after NPR segement on benefit of pre-kindergarten education

Feb 18, 2013

The issue of high-quality pre-school education has been getting much attention at the state and national level in the last few weeks. It was also the subject of an NPR segment on Monday.

File photo
Credit The Associated Press

In Michigan, Governor Snyder has proposed spending $130-million to expand access to the state's pre-school program. NPR's segment Monday dealt with claims made by President Obama in his State of the Union Address last week. 

But the conversation between host Linda Wertheimer and NPR Science Correspondent Shankar Verdantam did not ring true to Upjohn Institute Economist Tim Bartik. Verdantam questioned whether universal access to pre-school could offer the same benefits that have been found for programs targeted at low-income, at-risk children. Bartik who has written a book on the economic value of high-quality pre-school offered a rebuttal on his blog

Bartik says the evidence so far indicates more long-term benefits for children from low-income families, but he says there hasn't been enough study to dismiss the effects on children from middle and upper income backgrounds. Bartik says there is evidence that large-scale universal pre-school programs produce sizeable benefits for children from low-income and higher income families.