Pre-K works for at-risk kids in Texas

Texas’s pre-kindergarten program for disadvantaged students raises math and reading scores through third grade and reduces the likelihood students will repeat a grade or need special education services, according to a CALDER Working Paper. The study followed children from 1990 to 2002.

Instead of universal pre-K, Texas targets limited resources at high-need children, notes Education Gadfly. The Pre-K Early Start program cost less than half the cost of Head Start, which produces gains that begin to fade after first grade.  What is the PKES program doing differently? “In Texas, even pre-K has standards and curriculum—and they’re aligned with those of the K–12 system,” writes Gadfly.

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  1. Perhaps I misunderstand, but what is the advantage of a program that produces results only through 3rd grade?

    • They only followed the kids through third grade. The benefits were not fading out at that point.

      • That makes more sense. I was prompted to ask because any gains from Head Start no longer appear after about 3rd grade, which makes me wonder why we have Head Start at all. I hope *this* program continues to show positive effects.

        • It would be nice if Head Start could be replaced with a program that’s actually effective, but I suspect that any attempts to teach academics will be scrapped in order to protect the current employees.

  2. The Texas Legislature decimated Pre-K programs in Texas in the last round of budget cuts.