Upjohn Institute report finds short-term benefits of pre-school program

Jun 19, 2013

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Credit The Associated Press


A new report by the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research finds positive academic effects from the Kalamazoo County Ready4s program.

The goal of KCReady4s is to provide universal access to high-quality pre-school throughout Kalamazoo County. Upjohn Institute Economist Tim Bartik conducted the study. He is also a board member of KCReady4s. He told WMUK's Gordon Evans that he tried very hard to do an objective evaluation. 

Bartik says his study shows that there have been some large, positive academic benefits. He says there are limits to the study since the program is still relatively new and is changing. But Bartik says the small sample size does show a benefit for academic performance. He says it's also consistent with other pre-school studies. 

The study says those higher scores are predicted to increase adult earnings. Bartik says that is also consistent with other studies. He says that shows that the program is a good value for money spent. 

Bartik's report also details the history of KCReady4s, and education in the area, including the Kalamazoo Promise. Bartik says Kalamazoo's traditional backing of education may help increase community support for programs that improve learning. Bartik says there is a long tradition in Kalamazoo of recognizing that investing in education has broad public benefits.