:::: MENU ::::

Education, Inequality

School-based early childhood education and age-28 well-being

Tags: , , , ,

Policy decisions concerning education programming and early interventions are increasingly driven by documented results from long-term academic studies. The Chicago Longitudinal Study (CLS) has now tracked the education and post-education experiences of 1,539 families, most of which participated in the Child-Parent Center (CPC) Education Program (the second-oldest federally funded preschool program, behind Head Start).

A 2011 report by the University of Minnesota and University of Missouri published in Science, “School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being: Effects by Timing, Dosage and Subgroups,” analyzed CLS data and investigated the links between CPC participation and an individual’s well-being at a subsequent point, in early adult life.

The report’s findings include:

  • Children who participated in CPC programs achieved a higher level of education, income, socioeconomic status and health coverage than comparable non-participant children.
  • Overall, CPC participants had 22% lower rates of felony arrest, 28% lower rates of incarceration or substance abuse, and were 20% more likely to enjoy increased socioeconomic status.
  • Participation in an extended CPC program (4-6 years) led to a 55% higher rate of on-time high school graduation (than for those in a 3-year CPC program), and was associated with an 18% increased chance of moderate or better socioeconomic status.

The researchers state that the results were not uniform, and the most impressive outcomes were for male preschool participants who started in a CPC at ages 3 or 4 and for children of parents who had dropped out of high school. The report’s authors conclude that “while there are limits to the effects of the CPC program for particular outcomes and groups, impacts which endured provide a strong foundation for the investment in and promotion of early childhood learning.”

Tags: children, poverty, crime, drugs, parenting

    Writer: | Last updated: July 27, 2011

    We welcome feedback. Please contact us here.

    Analysis assignments

    Read the study-related U.S. News and World Report article "Preschool’s Benefits Linger Into Adulthood, Study Finds."

    1. Reporter's use of the study: Evaluate what the reporter chose to include and exclude from the study. Are there any improvements you would make?
    2. Reporter's use of other material: Assess the material in the article that is not derived from the study. (for example: Does the reporter place the study in the context of other research and to what effect? Does the reporter include reactions to the study from other researchers or interested parties [e.g., political groups business leaders, or community members] and are their credentials or possible biases made clear?)

    Read the full University of Minnesota and University of Missouri study "School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being: Effects by Timing, Dosage, and Subgroups."

    1. Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
    2. Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
    3. Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)

    Newswriting assignments

    1. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
    2. Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
    3. Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
    4. Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.