Preschool debate

Should government-funded preschool be targeted to needy children or provided to all children? Education Sector hosts a debate on the subject.

Meanwhile, Lisa Snell of the Reason Foundation links to a critique of a RAND study.

A Rand Corporation study that claims universal preschool will deliver $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent by California taxpayers has been thoroughly discredited by two San Jose State University economics professors who show the Rand preschool study “cherry-picked” data, based its claims on “unbelievable assumptions that bias the results,” and omitted numerous costs and other factors that significantly lower the alleged benefits of universal preschool. The review of the Rand report, published by the Reason Foundation, uses Rand’s own data and methodology and finds that California would actually lose 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent on universal preschool when just a few of the Rand report’s most glaring mistakes are corrected. And the Reason study concludes those losses would be even greater if many of the proposed preschool program’s costs, wrongly excluded from Rand’s calculations, were included in the analysis.

Tthe SF Chronicle summarizes Proposition 82, the universal preschool initiative on California’s June 6 ballot.

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Comments

  1. BadaBing says:

    Even if it’s a fiscal boondoggle and doesn’t work, remember what Uncle Rob says, “It’s for the children.”

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Early in my engineering career, a superior objected to the conclusion of a report. I asked him what he would prefer I prove. This was shortly before I took my career elsewhere.

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    > A Rand Corporation study .. as been thoroughly
    > discredited by two San Jose State University
    > economics professors who show the Rand preschool
    > study “cherry-picked” data, based its claims
    > on “unbelievable assumptions that bias
    > the results,” and omitted numerous costs
    > and other factors that significantly lower
    > the alleged benefits of universal preschool.

    A number of RAND studies about schools have this same sort of characteristic.

  4. Ryan Grant says:

    >California would actually lose 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent on universal preschool>California would actually lose 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent on universal preschool

  5. The economic analysis predicts that for every dollar spent now about 75 cents will be recouped later in lower costs. If the proposition was focused on low SES children the numbers would be better since preschool provides more benefits to disadvantaged children than to children from middle-class homes.

  6. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Where did they have creches? Brave New World or 1984. Damn, it’s hell when your education is out of warranty.

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Incidentally – wasn’t Rand the organization thet made all those silly Cold War predictions?