Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Newly-elect Governor Walz alludes to pre-K being one focus of his education agenda

The swearing in today of Governor Tim Walz as Minnesota’s 41st governor included an inaugural address shared by the Star Tribune here.

In his primarily education-themed message, Walz alluded to pre-kindergarten being one focus of his education agenda.

Minnesotans, let’s recognize some simple truths: Education is the great equalizer of society… Putting a young child on a yellow bus to pre-kindergarten in St. Cloud can prevent him from riding a prison bus to Stillwater.

Expanding pre-kindergarten programs and funding was a central priority for former Governor Mark Dayton. The state legislature last year approved one-time funding of $56.6 million for a School Readiness Plus/Voluntary Pre-K “hybrid” that Dayton lobbied hard to make permanent.

The effectiveness and long-term benefits of government-funded pre-K programs are weak. Studies looking at the long-term effects on student achievement find that early gains are short-lived and often fizzle out by second and third grade. According to Grover “Russ” Whitehurst at the Brookings Institute, the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program study provides the “strongest evidence on elementary school impacts of state pre-K” because it is the only study so far that uses “randomized trials of scaled-up state pre-K programs with follow-up of children in the treatment and controls groups as they progress through elementary school.” The study found that “positive achievement effects at the end of pre-K reversed… by 2nd and 3rd grade.”

To be clear, Whitehurst recognizes this is “only one study of one state pre-K program at one point in time,” but he uses the rest of his article to explain other analyses he has done that confirm pre-K benefits are overblown.

Should all children have the opportunity to succeed in school and life? Without a doubt. But increased investments in state pre-K will not meaningfully enhance student achievement for our at-risk learners.

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Where Is Minnesota’s Economy Headed?

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, January 16th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Center economist and author of the new report, “The State of Minnesota’s Economy: 2018,” John Phelan. Learn where Minnesota’s economy stands and where it is headed. John Phelan is a graduate of Birkbeck College, University of London, where he earned a BSc in Economics, and of the London School of Economics where he earned an MSc. John worked in finance for ten years before becoming a professional economist. At Capitol Economics in London, he wrote reports ranging from the impact of Brexit…

    Register Now
  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Nigel Farage

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now