The Upjohn Institute’s Tim Bartik presented his research on the long-term effects of high-quality pre-kindergarten education before the Michigan State Board of Education on June 14. Bartik is a senior economist with the Institute and the author of numerous papers and two books on the topic, “Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development” and “From Preschool to Prosperity: The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Education.”
Bartik was invited to present by Michael F. Rice, the state superintendent of public instruction and former superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Bartik offered several research conclusions that have policy implications for the board, including that:
- Only high-quality programs show large long-term benefits;
- Pre-K programs can have positive effects not only for children but for those children’s children as well;
- Investments in pre-K increase return to investments in kindergarten-through-12th grade education and vice versa; and
- Programs available to everyone have higher test scores than “income-targeted” programs.
Bartik’s analysis concludes that high-quality preschool pays off with outcomes such as higher adult earnings. Policymakers should make sure public preschools are high quality by ensuring broader access, adequate funding and high-quality supports to improve teaching.